Truth is, he wasn’t even supposed to sit there.

Joe Reis has always been a baseball fan. So when the Twins made it to the 1991 World Series, he had to be part of it. He was able to get two really good seats for game 6, but a friend at work had four seats in the outfield and wanted to trade.

POSSIBLY THE BEST TRADE EVER

The Reis family with Homer Hanky
The Reis family display a Homer Hanky before game 6.

Joe and his wife Kathy thought it might be fun to bring two of their girls to the game – they decided to make the swap. Sure, the seats weren’t as good, but Reis thought, “The girls will never forget it. It’s not just a baseball game, it’s the World Series. It’s an event!”

He had no idea how much of an event it would be. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Kirby Puckett blasted a series-saving home run into the left-center field seats and right into Joe’s baseball mitt.

BUT TOM, MY FAMILY!

In a play possibly greater than the home run itself, Reis decided to give the home run ball to Kirby. Reis found a security guard to escort himself and his family (and the ball) to the Twins locker room.

“They escorted us down through the bowels of the Metrodome, and I’ll never forget as we walked…my heart was still beating, [the catch] had just happened maybe 20, 30 minutes before. There was still noise in the stadium – the Twins had won the 6th game of the World Series, they were going to game 7! It was so exciting!”

The excitement cooled as they got closer to the winning team. At a security checkpoint, Reis was told only he could go into the locker room area with the ball. His family would have to stay back. Heartbroken that his family wouldn’t be part of this amazing experience, Joe journeyed on. As he and his security escort continued down the corridor, Tom Kelly, the Twins manager at the time, walked by.

“He sees the ball in my hand and he says, ‘Is that the home run ball?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, Tom, I want to give this to Kirby, but they stopped my family back there.’ And he looks at the gentleman I’m with and says, ‘Go get this guy’s family!’”

Reis family with Kirby Puckett
The Reis family with Kirby Puckett after the game.

Game 6 was five-year-old Michelle’s first baseball game. For years, the family joked that Michelle thought that every baseball game ended when her dad caught the ball and they were all escorted to the Twins locker room to hang out with Kirby Puckett.

THE GOLDEN SEAT

Puckett’s game 6 home run is still one of the biggest moments in Minnesota sports history. After the series, the Twins removed Joe’s seat from the Metrodome (Seat 27, Row 5, Section 101) and put it in their archives. They replaced it with a golden seat and numbered it 34 in honor of Kirby Puckett.

Joe Reis with seat at Target Field
Joe is reunited with his seat at Target Field.

The Dome was demolished in 2014 and the golden seat went with it. But in 2016, the Twins brought Joe’s original seat out of the archive and into Target Field. The seat now sits on the concourse as a hopeful reminder of just how exciting baseball can be.

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