October 27, 2017 09:23 AM
College students aren't always known for being early risers, but Penny Eischens and her friends weren't about to miss this.
Eischens was a sophomore at St. Cloud State University in the fall of 1987. She and six of her friends got up early on Oct. 27.
On that day, 30 years ago, they had a parade to catch.
A victory parade, in fact. For the Minnesota Twins, who days earlier had beaten the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 in Game 7 of the 1987 World Series.
It wrapped up the franchise's first World Series title since 1924, when they were known as the Washington Senators. It marked the first professional sports championship won by a Minnesota-based team since the old Minneapolis Lakers won the last of their NBA titles in 1954.
"We got there at 2 a.m.," recalls Eischens, who now lives in Savage. "We were on the front steps of the State Capitol. We wanted to make sure we were in the front row."
Hundreds of thousands of Minnesota sports fans made the same pilgrimage, many of them waving Homer Hankies on a late autumn day when temperatures hovered in the mid-40s. Some enterprising construction workers in Minneapolis even watched from a lift on a crane.
All were hoping to catch a glimpse of a parade that started through the streets of downtown Minneapolis, then hopped on Interstate 94 and continued through downtown St. Paul to a rally at the State Capitol.
The Associated Press account of the day said police estimated a crowd of 200,000 or more was on hand in downtown Minneapolis. The same number was estimated in St. Paul. But other estimates put the crowd closer to 1 million overall.
It was hard to say for sure.
"If there had been a balloon for every person who cheered the Twins today, you wouldn't have seen the sky," KSTP anchor Ruth Spencer told viewers that night. "If there had been confetti for every single smile, the streets would have disappeared."
Gov. Rudy Perpich had given state employees the day off, and many Twin Cities schools canceled classes.
"We were in the front row, so I didn't realize how big the crowd was behind us," Eischens said. "I saw a picture of it in the newspaper afterward, and it was amazing to see."
She added, "Every now and then, it got a little scary. The crowd would surge forward with everybody trying to get a better look, and we had nowhere to go up front. But it was so cool just to be there."
Eischens had grown up watching the Twins, following a young core of players through a 102-loss season in 1982 and a 71-91 finish just one year before in 1986, so it felt great to see it all pay off.
"My dad was a big baseball fan when I was growing up and we'd always watch the games together on TV," she said. "It was a bonding experience for the whole family, so that was just a wonderful day. It was exciting to be part of. I think it was a proud moment for everybody in Minnesota. The underdog finally came out on top."
Updated: October 27, 2017 09:23 AM
Created: October 26, 2017 09:09 PM
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