A two-time all-star, Gruber played for 10 years, all but one of them for the Toronto Blue Jays, from 1984-1994. In 939 games, he hit .259 with 117 home runs while winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award. Gruber first arrived in the big leagues in 1984 but had to wait until 1987 to become Toronto’s starting third baseman. He hit 12 home runs that season and 16 more in 1988 before making his first all-star team in 1989, when he hit .290 with 18 homers. The following season would go down as the high-water mark of Gruber’s career. In 1990 he hit .274 while setting career highs in home runs (31), RBIs (118) and runs scored (92). He went to his second All-Star Game that year and won his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. Gruber hit another 20 home runs in 1991 but saw his production decrease the following season and Toronto traded him to the California Angels at the end of the year. Bulging disks in his neck and a torn rotator cuff limited Gruber to just 18 games with the Halos in 1993. The team released him at the end of the season and he sat out the next three years. He attempted a comeback in 1997 and played in the minors for the Baltimore Orioles organization, but never got called up.
Gruber was a member of the 1992 Blue Jays team that beat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. He started at third base in all six games, hitting .105 with a home run.
He was the first player to hit for the cycle for Toronto. He pulled off the feat on April 16, 1989, against the Kansas City Royals.
Bonner played in 61 games for the Baltimore Orioles between 1980-1983. In 108 at bats, he hit .194 with no home runs. He was called up for 10 games in 1981 instead of future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken. He responded by hitting .296 and scoring six runs, which would go down as his most productive stretch in the big leagues.
Bonner was a member of the Rochester Red Wings when they played a 33-inning game with the Pawtucket Red Sox on April 18, 1981. He had three hits in 12 at bats in the contest, which Pawtucket eventually won 3-2. It is the longest professional baseball game every played.
Bonner worked as a a missionary following his playing days. His experiences are chronicled in the book “From The Diamond To The Bush.” It is available here.
You can learn more about his missionary work here.
Robidoux played for six years in the majors, hitting .209 with five home runs for the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox between 1985-1990. He never played in more than 56 games in a season and his best year at the plate came that year when he hit .227 with 21 RBIs and 15 runs scored for the Brewers in 1986.
Unfortunately, I could not find any information on the book Robidoux refers to. Roger Kahn wrote a book called The Boys of Summer, but it is about the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Lucky 13 letters in the mail today, going to: Mike Stanton, Daryl Sconiers, Mike Ramsey, Mike O’Berry, Mark Langston, Thomas Howard, Brad Gulden, Doug Corbett, Doug Brocail, Johnny Briggs, Mike Armstrong, Bill Swift and Mike Warren.
Meyer pitched in 34 games for the Houston Astros between 1988-1990. In 50-and-2/3 innings, Meyer went 0-5 with two saves and a 2.84 ERA. Despite losing four games, 1990 was Meyer’s best season as he had a 2.21 ERA in 20 innings for the Astros.
Meyer pitched his first game on September 3, 1988, at the Astrodome against the St. Louis Cardinals. He entered the game in the ninth inning after Nolan Ryan had thrown seven innings and Dave Meads pitched the eighth. Meyer retired the side in order, striking out Denny Walling to seal a 10-1 Houston win.
An all star as a rookie in 1983, Dawley pitched for seven seasons in the majors, going 27-30 with a 3.42 ERA for the Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Oakland A’s from 1983-1989. He came up and made an immediate impact for Houston, going 6-6 with a 2.82 ERA and 14 saves for the Astros in 1983. He won 11 games and had a 1.93 ERA for Houston the following season while still pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. He was not as effective in 1985 and was traded to the Chicago White Sox. He went 0-7 for the ChiSox and then spent a year each with the Cardinals, Phillies and A’s before retiring.
Dawley relieved Atlee Hammaker in the bottom of the third inning of the 1983 All-Star Game. He got Jim Rice to end the inning, then retired George Brett and Lance Parrish to start the fourth. After Dave Winfield singled, he induced a Manny Trillo fly ball to end the inning.
Dawley was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds who traded him to the Astros for Alan Knicely.
Kipper pitched for eight seasons in the majors, coming up with the California Angels in 1985, then with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1985-1991 and finally with the Minnesota Twins in 1992. In 271 games he went 27-37 with a 4.34 ERA. While he began his career as a starter, Kipper’s best seasons came while working in the Pirates’ bullpen. He won three games and had four saves to go along with a 2.93 ERA in 1989, which was arguably his single best season.
Kipper threw his complete game shutout on April 16, 187 at Wrigley Field. He gave up four hits and struck out eight to lead the Pirates to a 6-0 win.
Kipper pitched in one game of the 1991 National League Championship Series for the Pirates. He threw two innings and gave up one run in Game 3 which Pittsburgh lost 10-3 to the Atlanta Braves.
Following his playing career Kipper became a coach. He has worked for the Boston Red Sox organization since 1999. He was the team’s bullpen coach in 2002 and again, on an interim basis, in 2015.
An all-star in 1994, Alvarez won 102 games during a 14-year career that saw him pitch from 1989-2005. He arrived in the majors as a 19-year old with the Texas Rangers but made his mark with the Chicago White Sox a couple years later. Alvarez went 15-8 with a 2.94 ERA for Chicago in 1993 and followed that with a 12-8 season in 1994, which was the year he went to the All-Star Game. He won 15 more games for the White Sox in 1996 and posted 13 wins in 1997, which he split between Chicago and the San Francisco Giants. However, that was the end of the productive stretch of his career. He signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and lost 14 games in 1998. He went 9-9 in 1999, which would be his last year as a full-time starter. An injury to his shoulder forced Alvarez to miss the next two seasons and when he returned in 2002 he was not the same pitcher. He pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2003-2005 and then retired.
Alvarez pitched in the postseason three times, first for the White Sox in 1993, then with the Giants in 1997 and again with the Dodgers in 2004. His best performance by far came in Game 3 of the 1993 American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched a complete game, limiting Toronto to seven hits and one run and leading Chicago to a 6-1 win. The Blue Jays, however, won the series, 4-2.
On August 11, 1991 Alvarez threw a no-hitter for the White Sox at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore against the Orioles. The game was actually his debut for Chicago. He struck out seven and walked five. The White Sox won 7-0.
Alvarez is a member of the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame.