If you’re not a fan of the Twins, you’re probably reading this headline and thinking, “Are you kidding?”
But if you are a fan of the Twins who also happened to watch Game 6 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday night, then you probably enjoyed the confluence of Twins-related trivia that emerged during the Fox broadcast.
About the eighth inning, broadcaster Joe Buck suddenly had this bit of trivia to address: The Dodgers, until now, had never hosted Game 7 of the World Series. As he discussed that believe-it-or-not moment, the camera cut to Dodger pitching legend Sandy Koufax, who was sitting in the front row. That led Buck to point out that even though the Dodgers have never hosted Game 7 of the World Series (until now), Koufax last pitched in a Game 7 in Bloomington.
And by Bloomington, Buck meant Bloomington, Minnesota, which was once home to Metropolitan Stadium, the ballpark of the Twins long before the Metrodome and Target Field.
In October 1965, Koufax took the mound in Game 7 at the Met against Twins pitcher Jim Kaat to decide that year’s World Series winner. It wasn’t close: Koufax pitched a complete game three-hitter and struck out 10 en route to a 2-0 win and 4-3 series victory. Kaat, meanwhile, lasted all of three innings.
As Buck discussed the 1965 World Series, guess who entered the game for the Astros? Old Friend Francisco Liriano, who faced one batter and struck him out.
Liriano spent seven seasons with the Twins, including 2006 when he struck out 144 batters in 121 innings. He finished that season at 12-3 with an ERA of 2.16. Combine that with Johan Santana, who won the Cy Young award that year, and it appeared the Twins were on the verge of having two of the most dominant left-handed pitchers in the game. Liriano ultimately needed Tommy John surgery and it took him several seasons to regain his form. By then, he was no longer a member of the Twins.