why this team?: the twins went from worst to first in 1991 - their 95-67 record was a 21-win improvement over the previous year. they won their second title in 5 years under manager tom kelly.
which players are featured?: just three - jack morris, kent hrbek, and kirby puckett
why these players?: aside from the fact that they have each appeared in the set previously, these three twins are good representatives for the 1991 team. let's break it down.
jack morris was a free agent pick-up in the offseason, and the saint paul native came through for his hometown team. he was 18-12 during the regular season and finished fourth in the cy young award voting. in the postseason, morris was 2-0 in the alcs against the toronto blue jays, and 2-0 in the world series as well. he won the world series mvp award in large part thanks to his 10-inning shutout of the braves in the winner take all game 7.
kent hrbek hit .284 with 20 homers and 89 rbi during the regular season. the bloomington, minnesota native didn't play all that well in the postseason, but he did double and homer in the first game of the world series, as well as kind of/sort of pull ron gant off of first base on a pick off attempt in game 2 to help the twins win both of those contests.
kirby puckett was the mvp of the 1991 alcs thanks to his 2 homers, 5 rbi, and .429 batting average. he had hit 15 homers with 89 rbi and a .319 average during the regular season and finished 7th in the league mvp voting. when the world series rolled around, puckett put the team on his back for their must-win game 6, and wound up making a terrific catch early in the game to keep the braves off the scoreboard, and later hit an 11th inning walk-off home run to force game 7 the following night. that home run is the subject of the memorable moment card puckett receives in this subset.
the stadium on the back is...?: the no longer in existence hubert h. humphrey metrodome. the new minnesota vikings stadium is currently being constructed in its place.
did upper deck get it right?: morris and puckett are no-brainers for this team, and hrbek is not a bad choice. other players that would have made sense include 1991 al rookie of the year chuck knoublach, 20-game winner scott erickson, and closer rick aguilera. heck, even game 7 hero gene larkin who drove in the series winning run would have been welcome.
as for the photos, morris is obviously shown in 1991 as he did not pitch for the twins in any other season. hrbek's picture looks about right as well, but puckett's may not be from 1991. i don't think the twins wore their navy tops in '91, but i am not certain. either way, i wish upper deck had used the photo of puckett during his game 6 home run trot - the same photo that served as the model for his statue at target field.
is this team timeless?: yes. even though the twins won their first title in 1987, this team from just four years later is timeless. thanks in large part to one-year twin jack morris and puckett's heroics in game 6, this team remains at the forefront of twins fans' minds.