By this point, the 42-year-old Carlton had assured himself a berth in Cooperstown, having won 328 games and four Cy Youngs while becoming the second pitcher to reach 4,000 strikeouts, after Nolan Ryan. The old lefty had not pitched well in his first year with Cleveland (5-9, 5.37 ERA), but had put up decent numbers in June (2.56 ERA in 31 2/3 innings over four starts) and shown signs of emerging from a rough patch with a pair of serviceable starts. The Twins, meanwhile, were in first place in the AL West but tired of watching the likes of Mike Smithson and 42-year-old Joe Niekro get lit up. They gave up a player to be named later for Carlton (it became righthanded pitcher Jeff Perry, a former first-round pick who never reached the majors).
Carlton won just one more game and did not appear in the postseason when 85-win Minnesota, led by future Hall of Famers Kirby Puckett and Bert Blyleven, upset the 98-win Tigers in the ALCS and the 95-win Cardinals to win the World Series.