Bruno in Cooperstown
Tom Brunansky was surprised after looking through a pair of manila folders containing both images and stories from his 14 years in the big leagues.
Evan after a career that included 271 home runs and a World Series ring, Brunansky was amazed to find his career documented in Cooperstown.
“It’s pretty special and neat that not only my mom would collect that,” he said afterward, “but the Hall of Fame would as well.”
Brunansky, currently the hitting coach for the New Britain Rock Cats, a Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins in the Eastern League, was with about 10 members of his team inside the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center on Wednesday morning as they checked out the clippings and photo files of the player nicknamed “Bruno.”
“Oh, it got a lot of laughs, a lot of stories, and a lot of things that after a course of a career you kind of seem to forget about,” Brunansky said of his Hall of Fame files.
In a playing career (1981-94) spent mostly with the Twins, the longtime right-fielder finished with 1,543 hits, 919 RBI, a .245 batting average and an All-Star Game selection in 1985.
For Brunansky, who will celebrate his 51st birthday on Aug. 20, the chance to come to Cooperstown arose thanks to a Rock Cats’ series against the Binghamton Mets – another Eastern League team located about an hour from the home of baseball.
“They try and make these trips for the kids who haven’t been here, and I’ve never been here, so it was obviously well worth getting up early to come on out,” he said. “We play tonight, so we’ve got an early bus, but to bring these kids out and to see part of history is pretty cool.
“I always knew the Hall of Fame was kind of neat because of all the things that were here, but to see the degree and how far they’ve gone and how much work has been put into it is amazing,” he added. “I love the cleats, I love the gloves, I love the baseballs, I love the bats – that’s the stuff I enjoy seeing.”
While he enjoyed the baseball artifacts, what Brunansky really wanted to see was the Hall of Fame plaques.
“The Plaque Gallery was kind of neat, too, because I liked going through there and seeing who I played against and who were teammates.”
One of the newest plaques on display belong to 2011 inductee Bert Blyleven, a teammate of Brunansky’s with the Twins from 1985 to 1988.
“Bert was one of the ultimate gamers,” Brunansky said. “The one thing about having Bert as a teammate is every fifth day he took the ball, gave you the best chance to win that day, and always competed.”
Bill Francis is a Library associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.