Friday April 22, 1988
Sobered by an 11-6 loss to Cleveland Friday night in the Metrodome – the fourth straight defeat in the stadium where they were once invincible – the Twins’ clubhouse seemed shaken by the announcement of Tom Brunansky’s trade to St. Louis for second baseman Tom Herr.
Steve Lombardozzi, whose career was shifted into the balance, sat in front of his locker, head down and confused. Kirby Puckett sat beside him, quiet and reflective. Brunansky, one quarter of the Fab Four and an original member of the 1982 class that played itself through 102 losses and into a World Series championship, packed one last time.
-Mark Vancil, Star Tribune 4/23/1988
The Indians jumped ahead early with a six-run first inning, powered mostly by Cory Snyder’s one-out grand slam off of Bert Blyleven. Blyleven filled up the bases in part by beaning batters, including the first batter of the game, Julio Franco.
The Twins fought back in the middle innings, and actually found themselves within a run following the seventh inning. Joe Carter ended that, however, hitting the Indians’ second grand slam of the game in the top of the eighth. Carter’s home run came off of Keith Atherton, but all of the base runners belonged to Mike Mason, a veteran reliever who was pitching his first game in a Twins uniform.
Despite their fifth consecutive loss, four of which came at home, the post-game conversation mostly revolved around the trade that was actually completed late in the afternoon that wasn’t announced until both the Twins and the Cardinals had completed their night games.
Several Twins were stunned at the news they were losing a teammate, a member of the team’s nucleus.
“It’s like a cold shower with a slap in the face thrown in,” Gary Gaetti said.
“I’ll remain good friends with Tom Brunansky whether he is on the same field with me or not. It’s hard to think about the baseball aspects of something like this right now. It’s personalities that affect ballplayers in and out of the game, and when a friend leaves it’s sad.”
-quoted by Mike Augustin, Pioneer Press 4/23/1988
“Tom Brunansky was a very good ballplayer for me,” said (Tom) Kelly, who will bat Herr in the No. 2 spot and move shortstop Greg Gagne down in the order.
“He played his heart out for me and he played on a championship team. You get close to players and it’s tough to tell a guy that he’s been traded. It’s not real easy to do.”
-quoted by Mark Vancil, Star Tribune 4/23/1988
Steve Lombardozzi took the news especially hard. Herr’s arrival means he is now a backup.
Steve Lombardozzi, the Twins’second baseman mired in a 1-for-27 slump, will be benched for the time being.
Lombardozzi met with Kelly after the game. Later, the second baseman refused comment. “Tom Herr is the second baseman right now,” Kelly confirmed. “That’s how it is.
“I talked to Lombo. I told him to hang in there and see what happens. It’s not easy, but hang in there.”
Andy MacPhail sells the media on the new player.
“It’s tough to do when a guy has done so much for the club for several years,” said MacPhail. “We just felt we needed to improve our balance, and I think Tommy Herr is one of the four or five best second basemen in all of baseball. He gives us a lefthanded bat at the front of the order and he can steal a base.”
Finally, Tom Herr on his reaction to the trade.
“I was shocked,” Herr said in St. Louis. “It’s the farthest thing from your mind that you’d be traded. I knew going into this year that it was a pivotal year for me. … It’s tough to leave, considering everything we’ve won. It’s been a good time here.”
Player of the Game
Joe Carter 3-for-5 Grand Slam
Team Name G W L T PCT GB RS RA Oakland Athletics 17 10 7 0 .588 - 99 86 Chicago White Sox 16 9 7 0 .563 0.5 77 70 Kansas City Royals 15 7 8 0 .467 2.0 74 73 California Angels 16 7 9 0 .438 2.5 92 89 Seattle Mariners 17 7 10 0 .412 3.0 70 93 Texas Rangers 15 6 9 0 .400 3.0 31 52 Minnesota Twins 14 4 10 0 .286 4.5 50 90