Another hot stove season is in the books. While this one didn’t have quite the happy ending that 1987 did, it certainly was an interesting season to revisit after 20 years.
My favorite story of the year was Tom Kelly’s vendetta with the official scorers. It was something that I don’t remember hearing about that year (to be fair, I was 10). Kelly tends to have a halo in these part not unlike the one formerly worn by Kirby Puckett, and the most enduring image I have of Kelly is him sitting quietly on the bench while the 1987 Twins celebrated the World Series victory. Still, he could be just about as ornery as any manager when something set him off.
I also very much appreciated the Jose Canseco quote when he was accused of using steroids en route to his 40-40 MVP season. “It was an ignorant statement, and usually I don’t pay attention to ignorant statements,” – I wonder how he was able to write his book?
At the beginning of the season, it was striking to see how similar the plight of the 88’s was to the plight of the 07’s. The more things change, the more they stay the same – only the names are changed. Ramon Ortiz + Sidney Ponson in 2007 = Steve Carlton + Joe Niekro in 1988 – though I guess the latter group had just a tiny bit more career success than the former, the point remains that the manager stuck with veterans who weren’t getting the job done rather than relying on young pitchers who were likely to perform better.
Allan Anderson’s decision to sit out the last day still makes me chuckle, as does the fact that he claimed to not care about his ERA in the weeks leading up to it; and I’m not sure there was a worse fit for Minnesota than Tom Herr, although in fairness I’m not convinced that he got a fair shake from the fans immediately after the trade due to the popularity of the man he was traded for, and reading between the lines a bit I imagine that the clubhouse was pretty pro-Lombardozzi most of the season.
Tune in next fall for Hot Stove 1989!