31 Years Ago Today
Kelly Gruber hits for the cycle, the first one in Blue Jays history.
We were playing the Royals, and won big 15-8.
- A home run in the first inning off Royals starter Alan Bannister.
- A double in the second inning, again off Bannister.
- In the fourth inning he struck out.
- In the fifth inning he lined out.
- A triple in the seventh off Tom Gordon.
- A single in the eighth off Jerry Don Gleaton.
Kelly went 4 for 6 with 6 RBI.
He had a great start to the 1989 season. Coming into the game he was hitting .385/.457/.538. The game bumped his line up to .422/.481/.689.
Kelly would finish the season .290/.328/.448 with 18 home runs. Baseball Reference has him at a 5.0 WAR (in 1990 he would hit .274/.330/.512 with 31 home runs and hit bWAR was 4.2). FanGraphs has him at a 3.9 WAR in 1989 and a 4.3 WAR in 1990.
The lineups that day:
|Lloyd Moseby, CF||Willie Wilson, CF|
|Kelly Gruber, 3B||Kevin Seiter, 3B|
|Pat Borders, C||George Brett, 1B|
|George Bell, LF||Danny Tartabull, RF|
|Fred McGriff, 1B||Bill Buckner, DH|
|Jesse Barfield, RF||Bo Jackson, LF|
|Bob Brenly, DH||Bob Boone, C|
|Manuel Lee, SS||Bill Pecota, 2B|
|Tom Lawless, 2B||Brad Wellmam SS|
Dave Stieb got the start. He would only last 8 batters and only got 1 out. He gave up 4 hits, 3 walks and 6 earned. His start before that was a complete game 1 hitter and his start after was 8 innings, 4 hits. I don’t know what went wrong this day.
David Wells came in. He gave up a 2-run single to add to Stieb’s count. He would go 4 innings, allow 6 hits, 2 earned, 1 walk with 3 strikeouts. Tony Castillo pitched the last 4.2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts with no earned runs. Wells got the win, Castillo got a 4.2 inning save, his first and only save of the season. He would pitch 17 games for the Jays that year and have a 6.11 ERA before being traded to the Braves in August. We hot Jim Acker in return.
Some other Jays hitters had good days:
- Pat Borders went 2 for 6, both doubles, with 2 RBI.
- George Bell went 3 for 5, with 2 doubles, a walk, and 2 RBI.
- Fred McGriff went 2 for 4, with a home run, 2 walks, and 2 RBI.
- Jesse Barfield went 2 for 5, with a home run and 3 RBI.
On the KC side:
- Floyd Bannister got the start. He went 1.2, gave up 9 hits, including the Gruber home run, 6 earned with 1 strikeout.
- Bret Saberhagen pitched the net 2.1 with 3 hits, 3 earned, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. He gave up Barfield’s home run. He got the loss.
- Jeff Montgomery went 2 innings, allowed 3 walks with 2 strikeouts and no runs.
- Tom Gordon pitched 1 inning, gave up 2 hits, 3 earned, 3 walks with 2 strikeouts.
- Jerry Don Gleaton pitched the 8th. He gave up 3 hits, 3 earned, 1 walk.
The Royals scored 8 runs without hitting a home run.
George Brett went 3 for 5. The Hall of Fame third baseman played first base most of that season. He was 34 by then.
Brad Wellman went 3 for 3 before coming out of the game for a pinch-hit appearance by Pat Tabler (he struck out).
Two sport star, Bo Jackson, went 1 for 3, with 2 walks. Jackson hit .256/.310/.495 with 32 home runs. He led the league in strikeouts with 172. He had a 2.7 bWAR. He had a very good 1990 season too, but then in 1991 he hurt his hip playing football. The injury ended his football career. He did play baseball for a couple more seasons but he wasn’t the same player.
Not that it matters, but Tom Lawless is one of those players that Minor Leaguer would have in a Sporcle quiz and I would never come up with the name.
Lawless had a 8 year MLB career, the last two with the Blue Jays. He was a utliity player who played every position except for SS and C in his career. Career he hit .207/.263/.258 in 343 games. I do remember having his baseball card.