A visit with Mike Trombley
Mike “Trom” Trombley was born April 14, 1967 in Springfield, Massachusetts and was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1989 free agent draft in the 14th round after attending Duke University. Mike worked his way up through the minors with stops in Kenosha, Visalia, and Orlando before making his first big league appearance in relief for the Twins on August 19, 1992 against the Cleveland Indians. Primarily a relief pitcher, Mike pitched in a total of 365 games for the Twins, starting 36 times early in his career. After the 1999 season Trombley left the Twins as a free agent and signed a lucrative deal with the Baltimore Orioles where he pitched in 2000 and 2001 before being traded to the LA Dodgers at the 2001 trading deadline. Released by the Dodgers in the Spring of 2002, Mike rejoined the Twins but was released in June of that year. The right-handed Trombley pitched 634 innings for the Twins and ended his Twins career with 30 wins, 34 losses, and 34 saves. Mike wore number 21 from 1992-1999 and then wore number 19 when he returned fot his second stint in Minnesota in 2002. Today Mike and his family are enjoying retired life in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Mike, what is your fondest memory of pitching for the Twins? My fondest memory of playing for the Twins was my coaches and teammates. I played for the Twins from 1992-1999 and then for just a brief period in 2002. For the fans, I know they were tough years but as a player I could not wait to get to the ballpark. We would all get to the Dome early, the locker room was a special place for us. That was a real credit to the coaches and the organization. Half of the time I wasn’t sure what our record was but I knew we were going to play the game on that particular day as hard as we could. We didn’t care if it was the Indians, the Yankees, or any powerhouse team of that period, we were going to prepare ourselves to win.
Did you have any favorite teammates during your time in Minnesota? I was very fortunate to play with some great players and leaders with the Twins like Paul Molitor, Kirby Puckett, Dave Winfield, etc. The one teammate that sticks out for me was Rick Aguilera. I was mainly a bullpen guy during my career and Aggie was our leader down there. He was a heck of a pitcher and a great competitor… He led by example. He had great preparation and a good head on his shoulders.
Who was your favorite manager? No shot to Gardy because I only played for him for a short time in 2002. (I consider him a good friend). Tom Kelly was my manager for 7 years and taught us all to play the game right. He always told us to ‘play the whole game’ on and off the field. Prepare yourself always so you have the best chance to succeed on the field. Many bits of advice are still apparent to me as I coach little league.
Would you be willing to share your highest salary while you were with the Twins? I made $1.5 million in 1999 in my last year with the Minnesota Twins.
You became a free agent in 1999 and signed with the Orioles, what was that experience like? I was a free agent at the end of the 1999 season. I never wanted to leave the Twins but made the decision to sign a 3 year deal with the Orioles. I don’t consider myself a greedy guy but it was an opportunity for me to make a considerable amount more in Baltimore. It was a difficult decision for my family and myself, we loved Minny!
What do you think of current day baseball salaries and players? The salaries of some of the guys today are eye opening, but that is the business. I do think the money factor has separated the players and fans somewhat. The players today are getting better and better and are training at a younger age. They are also becoming more specialized. I think you are beginning to see less and less of the 3-sport stars in high school.
Who was the best player you had the privilege to play with and why? There were so many great players I played with and against but if I had to pick one, it would be Kirby Puckett; he loved to play and wanted to be the one at the plate in crunch time. Great, great player and even a better leader. Baseball will miss him!
If you had a chance to play baseball in another era what would it be and why? If I could choose any era to play in, I would chose any era that happened before the radar readings started in the parks. I was never a hard thrower and it was comical to see the guy before you throwing 94-95 mph and then you are coming in for him and you only can hit 87 (on a good day).
Former Twins pitcher Dan Naulty recently stated he took steroids & HGH. He talked about how sorry he was and the negative impacts it had on other players and he mentioned you in particular because he thought he took your job and that it was unfair to you and your family. Any thoughts on this? I don’t have any hard feelings against Dan Naulty. Actually, in 1996 when I got sent to Triple A, that is when I decided I needed another pitch and started throwing the split-fingered fastball. Best move of my career. I would like to say that we need to show the future MLB players and the kids that you can be a great player without any of that stuff.
What do you think about the recent Johan Santana trade? Johan is a great pitcher, maybe the best. But if you don’t have the money to pay him, you don’t. Assuming the Mets can work out a deal with him, he will be a great addition to their staff. I don’t know much about the young players that the Twins did get, but let us be reminded that we didn’t know much about Eric Milton and Christian Guzman when the Twins made the Knoblauch deal with the Yanks. Turned out pretty well. I have faith in the Twins front office and scouting. Over the years, they have been some of the best in evaluating talent.
What are your thoughts about the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and what do you remember most about us here in Minnesota? As I mentioned before, my family and I really enjoyed our time in Minneapolis. The summers there were terrific. Great people, fishing and golf. I only spent one winter there in 92-93 and BBBRRRRR!!! I grew up in Massachusetts and I thought I could handle the cold.. I was wrong. What can I say, I’m a wimp. Minnesota will always be special for me. Besides being the first place my kids remember, I can remember coming out of the Dome at about 11:00 pm some nights and talking to the great Twins fans. As I said, those were tough years and the fans were always supportive, even when they had the right not to be.
What are you doing today? I have been retired since 2002 and have spent the last few years really involved with my family. My wife, Barbara, and I have 3 kids, Tory and Alex (13 and 6 year old girls) and Kyle (10 year old boy). I have coached my daughter’s and son’s soccer teams and also coach my son’s little league team. I have been involved in real estate in Fort Myers, FL. The last year or so I am really looking to get involved in sports again. I’m not sure in what capacity. The truth is, the family that missed me so much while I was playing, has now gotten sick of me. LOL
In my free time I love watching my kids grow up. They are all great kids who do real well in school. I’m proud of them. They are playing the whole game! I play a lot golf and have had many opportunities to play on the Celebrity Players Tour.
What would you like to share with or say to today’s Minnesota Twins fans? To the fans: For a kid that grew up in western Massachusetts, I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunities I’ve had. I went to Duke University as a walk-on recruit. To play with guys like Puckett, Winfield, Molitor, and Ripken. WOW! Don’t let anyone tell you what you are capable of, you tell them what you can do! Thanks to all the Twins fans.