Opening Day is a week away…
This from team historian Mark Langill…
The countdown to Opening Day brings the inevitable spring training roster cuts and the chance for a trade. On March 30, 1981, a Minnesota Twins outfielder walked into the clubhouse at Tinker Field in Orlando and discovered his locker was empty.
“What happened to my stuff?” asked Ken Landreaux, demanding an explanation from the clubhouse attendant. Landreaux was directed to the manager’s office.
“You’re going home, kid,” said John Goryl.
“You’re releasing me?”
At age 26, Landreaux was coming off a banner 1980 season with the Twins in which he batted .281 in 129 games and compiled a 31-game hitting streak, which was the most by an American League player since Boston’s Dom DiMaggio had a 34-game hitting streak in 1949.
But Landreaux filed for salary arbitration during the winter and felt the budget-conscious Twins might trade him before the hearing. Goryl’s “going home” reference to the Compton High School graduate meant a trade to the Dodgers. Los Angeles sent infielder Mickey Hatcher and two minor leaguers to Minnesota for Landreaux.
The trade surprised Landreaux because he never heard rumors of the Dodgers showing any interest. The only memorable interaction as a Twins player was three days earlier when Landreaux hit a triple against the Dodgers in a spring training game at Vero Beach. After sliding into third base, Landreaux says Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda hollered, “You wish you were over here.”
Seven months later, Landreaux was standing in center field at Yankee Stadium in Game 6 of the World Series when he caught the final out of the season to clinch the Dodgers’ first championship since 1965.