It Was 20 Years Ago Today

The 1989 version of Nick Blackburn.



My 20-year high school class reunion is this weekend, and besides being a good excuse to knock back a few, see some old friends, and whine about the humidity (we're from Renville County, it's what we do),  it also provides a convenient hook for my feature this week. I decided to take a look at the 1989 Minnesota Twins, and see how they compared to this year's talented, frustrating ballclub.  The similarities are spooky.

  • Record: 80-82.  .500 ballclub?  Check.
  • Offense: Some superior talent in Kirby Puckett (led AL in average at .339 and hits with 215), Kent Hrbek (25 HR, 84 RBI) and Gary Gaetti (19 HR, 75 RBI)?  Check.
  • Starting Pitching: Only two starters with double-digit wins (Allan Anderson and the immortal Roy Smith)?  Check.
  • Staff Ace: under .500 (Frank Viola: 8-12, 3.79 ERA before the trade)? Check.
  • Relief: dependable closer with facial hair (Jeff Reardon, 31 saves)?  Check.
  • Pitching coach who would be getting creamed by the blogs if there were blogs in 1989: Check.  Dick Such is a lucky man.

The more things change, huh?  Other items of note after the jump:

  • Did anyone else forget that Jim Dwyer played for the Twins?  He played 88 games for the Twins in 1989, primarily as a DH.
  • The most noteworthy thing that happened that year was the trade of Viola to the Mets for Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, and David West, who I hated with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.  In other words, almost as much as Ron Davis.
  • For those looking to win a bar trivia contest, the other two players the Twins acquired in the Viola trade were Jack Savage and Tim Drummond.
  • The starters left from the 1987 World Series Champions: Puck, Herbie, The Rat, Dan Gladden, Greg Gagne.
  • New starters who would be on the 1991 champs: Brian Harper, Randy Bush, Dan Gladden.
  • Bush was the starting right fielder.  Now, I love Randy Bush as much as anyone who remembers The Slide does, but what the hell was he doing in the starting lineup?  (The answer: we traded Tom Brunansky for Tommy Bleeping Herr the previous year.  Man, that trade sucked.)
  • Hrbek tallied the above stats in just 109 games. 
  • This has nothing to do with 1989, but I found this anecdote from Tim Kurkjian about Hrbek while researching this: "The most human baseball player ever, he went to the postseason galas because the beer was free. He was big, funny and marvelous. Upon first meeting the White Sox's diminutive Craig Grebeck, who wore No. 14 as did Hrbek, Hrbek told him 'you should put a slash between the 1 and 4 and you'd be 1/4th.' In retirement, and while sitting around the fire during a camping trip, Van Slyke said Hrbek played a tape recording of his best farts."  Kent Hrbek was awesome.  Suck it, Gant.
  • Among the more anonymous players on the team that year: Greg Booker, Mike Cook, German Gonzalez, Lenny Webster, Vic Rodriguez and Doug Baker.
  • The Twins broadcast team that year was Jim Kaat, Ted Robinson and Dick Bremer.  That was a solid crew, although I think Chip Hale got lost in Bremer's pompadour and went on the 15-day DL (shoulder, Brylcreem).

Feel free to share your memories of the '89 Twins in the comments.  Due to the aforementioned reunion, you're in the talented hands of Jesse for this evening's game against the Indians.  Keep hope alive, enjoy your weekend.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Twinkie Town

You must be a member of Twinkie Town to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Twinkie Town. You should read them.

Join Twinkie Town

You must be a member of Twinkie Town to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Twinkie Town. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker