Assessing Cuddyer’s place in Twins history

Did you know only 11 men have played more games wearing a Twins uniform than Michael Cuddyer?

Neither did I.

Given the news today, it appears we’ve seen the end of Cuddyer’s 11-season career with the Minnesota Twins, and his 14-year tenure with the Twins organization. Michael Cuddyer will leave Minnesota as one of the more popular players in Twins history, joining Joe Nathan as long-time fan favorites that have hung up their Twins jerseys this off-season.

Cuddyer’s appeal to fans is easy to explain – he is a well-regarded clubhouse presence, brings a strong work ethic and embodies the idea of Minnesota Nice. He arrived on the scene just as the Twins became relevant again, and has been a regular contributor throughout the team’s recent decade of success. And let us not forget the dimples. Oh man, the dimples.

During his 11 seasons with the club, Cuddyer left his mark on the Twins record books. After the jump, we’ll take a look at where Cuddyer ranks on some of the team’s all-time leaderboards:

Total

All-Time Twins Rank

Games Played

1139

12th

Hits

1106

10th

2B

239

7th

HR

141

10th

XBH

415

10th

RBI

580

10th

Runs

606

11th

BB

411

11th

SO

805

6th

Runs Created

616

12th

Source: Baseball Reference’s amazing Play Index tool

Note: For this study, we’re only looking at games played in a Twins uniform (1961-2011)

Without a doubt, Michael Cuddyer’s lengthy tenure and solid production make him one of the most impactful players in team history. This is not meant to oversell his overall value to the team. Keep in mind that Baseball Reference gives Cuddyer 11.7 WAR for his 11 seasons with the club, the 27th highest rank in team history. By comparison, Denard Span has already generated 11.1 WAR in just 4 seasons with the Twins.

But no matter what WAR says, Cuddyer will always be linked in our memories to one of the best eras in the history of Twins baseball. And of course we’ll all have our favorite Cuddyer memories: the triple in 2009’s game 163; hitting two homers in the same inning in August of 2009; hitting for the cycle; and pitching a scoreless inning last July, bringing a little levity to a humorless summer. While far from the greatest player we’ve ever had in Minnesota, Cuddyer leaves as one of the most admired, respected and memorable players in Twins history.

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