Minnesota Twins All-Franchise Team
The Twin Cities were always meant to have a baseball team. Former Washington Senators president, Calvin Griffith, knew this and decided to be proactive, moving his ball club to Minnesota after the 1960 season. The Minnesota Twins have played the game of baseball with class since the beginning and are continuing to build on that legacy today. They have gone through rough patches at times, but have had pockets of success during the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, the late 1980’s/early 1990’s (when they won both of their World Series Titles), and all throughout the 2000’s. Among these teams, there have been so many world class players who have graced the Twins franchise. So without any more delay, it is my pleasure to introduce to you my Twins All-Franchise Team.
C: Joe Mauer
Mauer was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota and was drafted by his hometown Twins number one overall in the 2001 Draft out of high school. He is one of the best catchers in the game today and is quickly setting himself up to be one of the best of all time. His impressive resume’ includes 6 All-Star selections, 4 Silver Slugger Awards, 3 Batting Titles, 3 Gold Glove Awards, and 1 MVP Award over an outstanding 10-year career thus far. He is a pitchers worst nightmare when he steps into the box (owner of a .323 career batting average), shooting their best pitches into gaps all over the ballpark. Mauer will look end his career with the Twins and hopes to do so with a ring on his finger.
Runner Up: Brian Harper
1B: Justin Morneau
Morneau was drafted by the Twins as a teenager in 1999 and made his big league debut a few years later. The big lefty soon found his home at first base and in the middle of the Twins line-up, where he became one of the most feared hitters in the game. In his time with the Twins, Morneau was a 4-time All-Star, 2-time Silver Slugger, and 1-time AL MVP Award winner. He suffered a concussion in 2010 and has not been the same dynamic player since, but he is still very much an impact player. He will look to make some noise for the Pittsburgh Pirates this October.
Runner Up: Harmon Killebrew
2B: Rod Carew
Carew was signed as an amateur free agent in 1964 and made an impactful debut during the 1967 season, making his first All-Star team and winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Carew was a wizard with the bat and one of the true great hitters in the game, as he would scratch, claw, lunge, dive, slash, and bunt to get on base. Carew played 12 of his 19 Hall of Fame seasons with the Twins and racked up the hardware. He made 18 All-Star teams, won 7 Batting Titles (owner of a .328 career average), and won the 1977 MVP Award. He retired as a member of the 3,000 hit club and will always be remembered for his wizardry at the plate.
Runner Up: Chuck Knoblauch
3B: Gary Gaetti
Gaetti was chosen 11th overall by the Twins in the 1979 Draft. He played 10 of his 20 professional seasons in Minnesota and made a name for himself as a run producer and gritty defender. “The Rat “ made two All-Star teams, won 4 Gold Glove Awards, an ALCS MVP Award, and was a key fixture in helping the Twins capture the franchises very first World Series Title in 1987.
Runner Up: Corey Koskie
SS: Roy Smalley
Smalley was a former number one overall pick for the Texas Rangers and played a 10 of his 13 seasons in two different stints with the Twins. Known more for his offensive talents, Smalley was a run producer of sorts, with his best effort coming in 1979 when he hit 24 home runs and drove in 95 en route to his only All-Star selection. Smalley ended his career in 1987, going out as a World Series Champion.
Runner Up: Cristian Guzman
RF: Tony Oliva
Oliva was signed by the Twins as an amateur free agent in 1961. The best part about him; he could hit with the best of them. He played his first full season in 1964, winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award with a gaudy .323 batting average, 109 runs scored, 43 doubles, 9 triples, 34 home runs, 94 runs batted in, and a .916 OPS. While knee injuries shortened the sweet-swinging lefty’s career, he was still able to make 8 All-Star teams, win 3 Batting Titles, and win 1 Gold Glove Award during his 15 years of service to the Twins.
Runner Up: Michael Cuddyer
CF: Kirby Puckett
Puckett was drafted by the Twins 3rd overall in the 1982 Draft and would play his first big league season two short years later. He was perhaps one of the most dynamic players to ever don a Twins uniform, as he made his presence known on both the offensive and defensive sides of the baseball. During his 12 year career with the Twins, Puckett made the All-Star team 10 times, won 6 Silver Slugger Awards, 1 Batting Title, and 6 Gold Glove Awards. He was also a key fixture in both the 1987 and 1991 World Series Titles, making a huge grab in Game 6 of the ’91 Series to rob Atlanta Braves outfielder, Ron Gant, of a homerun. Puckett was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Runner Up: Torii Hunter
LF: Harmon Killebrew
Killebrew was signed as an amateur free agent by the Washington Senators in 1954 and was part of the first ever Minnesota Twins team in 1961. Known for his outstanding power, run production, and ability to get on base, Killebrew is a member of the 500 Home Run Club, the 1,500 RBI Club, and 1,500 walk club. He played 21 out of his 22 years with the Senators or Twins, making 12 All-Star teams and winning the 1969 AL MVP Award. He was also a utility player of sorts, playing over 450 games at 3 different positions (first base, third base, and left field). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.
Runner Up: NA
DH: Kent Hrbek
Hrbek, a Minnesota native, was a 17th round draft pick of the Twins in 1978 and his bat was his calling card. The designated hitter/first baseman used his left-handed swing to be a run producer; totaling over 1,000 RBI’s during his 14 years with the Twins. He was an All-Star during the 1982 season and hit at the heart of the order for both of the Twins World Series Title Teams. His biggest moment came in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series when he hit the go-ahead grand slam off of St. Louis Cardinals reliever, Ken Dayley.
Runner Up: NA
Pitchers: P: Bert Blyleven
Blyleven was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 1969 amateur draft. The right-hander has been long overlooked and unappreciated by many, despite the fact that his raw numbers put him among the MLB’s best. During his 22 year career, 11 with the Twins, Blyleven threw nearly 5,000 innings, won 287 games, struck out over 3,700 hitters, and posted an impressive 3.31 career earned run average. Even with the great numbers, he was only elected to two All-Star teams and never won a Cy Young Award. He won one of his two World Series Titles with the Twins in 1987 and was finally elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011 after a prolonged wait.
P: Jim Kaat
Kaat was signed by the Washington Senators in 1957, and along with Harmon Killebrew, was a member of the first Minnesota Twins team in 1961. Kaat was the definition of a crafty, lefty pitcher, using location and mixed rhythm to keep hitters on their toes at all times. During Kaat’s 25 years in the big leagues, 15 with the Twins, he threw over 4,500 innings, won 283 games, struck out over 2,400 batters, and posted a 3.45 career earned run average. While he only made 3 All-Star teams and never won a Cy Young, Kaat stands out as a fielder. His 16 Gold Glove Awards stood as a baseball record for years until Greg Maddux surpassed him in 2007.
Santana was signed by the Houston Astros in 1995 as an unrestricted free agent, before being selected by the Florida Marlins and traded to the Twins in the 1999 Rule 5 Draft. Santana flourished with the Twins and is considered by many to be one of the most dominant pitchers of the 2000’s. During his 8 years with the Twins, Santana pitched over 1,300 innings, won 93 games, struck out nearly 1,400 batters, and displayed an impressive 3.22 earned run average. His stuff, namely his devastating change-up, led the lefty to be a 4-time All-Star, 2-time Cy Young Award Winner, and 1-Time Gold Glove Award Winner. He signed a big deal with the New York Mets in 2008 and last pitched in 2012.
Runner Up: Jim Perry
I hope you all enjoyed my Twins All-Franchise Team Selections and that you learned a thing or two about some of baseball’s most outstanding players. If you would like to discuss any of my picks or baseball in general, feel free to visit our site, themlbnation.com, our Fan Forum, or tweet me at rjmags17.
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