Aug 6, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (33) hits a home run in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. It was his second home run of the game and 200th of his career. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Lost amid the megaton explosion of the ten-run second inning today, not to mention the 14-3 drubbing of the Indians in the big picture, was the fact that Justin Morneau hit a pair of home runs tonight. The second of the two homers marked number 200 in his career. And that's no small feat.
Since passing Torii Hunter earlier this season for the seventh-most career home runs in the history of the Minnesota Twins organization (Hunter hit 192 with the Twins, and is now just eight away from 300 for his career), Morneau has been chasing Gary Gaetti for sixth place. With his next home run, Justin will officially tie The Rat.
More after the jump.
In 5459 plate appearances from 1981 through 1990 Gaetti hit 201 home runs, topping out at 34 in 1986. But he was never the hitter that Morneau was in his prime. And if you put credence into what Morneau has done recently...
Justin has collected 16 hits in his last nine games. In July he batted .315/.365/.483, and this month is batting .458/.480/.833. Is Justin back? How fun would THAT be?
...then it's possible that his best isn't as far behind him as we thought it might have been just a couple of months ago. With 200 home runs at age 31, it certainly wouldn't take him as long as it's taken Hunter to get to 300 if Justin could stay healthy.
Ahead of Morneau on the all-time home run list for the Twins are some famous, iconic names. Kirby Puckett. Tony Oliva. Bob Allison. Kent Hrbek.
And Harmon Killebrew.
There is no chance that Morneau will ever catch Killebrew. But if he decides he wants to remain a Twin past his current contract, and if the front office could find a way to keep him in the fold at a fair price, Morneau could finish his career as the second-best power hitter in the history of the organization.
We're not there yet. But it's fun to think about.
All-Time Home Run Leaders