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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #65: Tom Brunansky

Bruno was a slugger for the Twins for most of the 1980s (though he debuted in 1981 with the Angels). From 1982-87 he was a regular for Minnesota, mostly in right field, good for .250 and 20-30 homers. Imagine Trot Nixon with a slightly cleaner helmet. He made the All-Star Game in 1985, and in 1987 he hit 32 round-trippers helping the Twins win the World Series (including his .412 against the Tigers in the ALCS).

The Twins sent Brunansky to the Cardinals for infielder Tom Herr in early 1988, in a move that helped St. Louis more than Minnesota. After two seasons, the Cards shipped him to Boston in exchange for closer Lee Smith. Brunansky hit .267 with 16 homers for that 1990 Sox team, but it was in the season's last game that he became a Red Sox icon. Boston needed a win to preserve their AL East lead, and in the final inning of that final game, Ozzie Guillen hit a sinking line drive to right that seemed destined to spoil things. Brunansky went into a slide just behind where the right field grandstand juts out and came up with ball, ending the game. The TV cameras couldn't pick it up on video (and I only heard it on the radio), but hey, let's say he caught it.

The Sox would get swept by the A's in the subsequent ALCS. Brunansky stayed in Boston for a couple more years hitting 31 more home runs between 1991 and 1992. He went to Milwaukee for a couple of years before finishing up with a 48-game, 10-homer cup of coffee with the Red Sox in 1993, retiring at the age of 33.

I'll always cherish his catch in 1990 (because we used to celebrate regular-season stuff like that here in New England) and his name. "Bruno" was the sort of thing it was fun to yell at Fenway Park, dragging out the U until the guy next to you slapped the back of your head.

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