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Every Twin on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot in the past 20 years

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Some got inducted, some didn’t, and some are Kent Hrbek. Let’s take a look at how all these former Twins fared on the MLB HOF ballot.

2016 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Dave Winfield, St. Paul native and former Twin, was inducted into the HOF in 2001.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The results from the 2017 MLB Hall of Fame vote will be announced today, live, at 5:00 pm CT on MLB Network. This year’s ballot included two former Twins: Orlando Cabrera and Casey Blake. Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but neither of them are going to get the 75% vote percentage needed to get into the HOF.

So why are they even on the ballot? Any player who plays at least ten years in the majors and has been retired for five gets listed. If they receive more than 5% of the votes, but less than 75%, they will be listed the following year as well. Players used to be listed for a maximum of 15 years, but that limit was recently changed to 10.

As a result, players like Cabrera and Blake get on the ballot for at least one year, despite having no chance of being inducted. Frequently, these players will get thrown a vote or two simply as a nod to their career. An “honorary vote”, if you will. The Twins have had many such honorary vote recipients over the years, as well as legit and borderline HOF candidates too, of course.

Just how many such candidates have the Twins had? I was curious, so I decided to take a look over the past 20 years.

Below are all players who ever wore a Twins uniform and also appeared on a MLB HOF ballot between 1997 and 2016—neatly sorted into six categories.

Without further ado:


1. The Success Stories

The crème de la crème. These are the guys who not only made it onto the ballot, but were successful in their journey to the Hall of Fame. The Twins have had four in the past 20 years: Kirby Puckett, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, and Bert Blyleven.

Puckett, Winfield, and Molitor all had a pretty easy time, getting voted into the hall their first year of eligibility. Of course, Winfield and Molitor were not inducted as Twins, but they are both home town guys who played at least one year for the team, and were pretty much slam-dunk candidates.

While Puckett also got in on the first ballot and with just slightly fewer votes than the two above, many now argue that he’s actually a pretty borderline HOF player. In fact, some think that he shouldn’t even be in the HOF at all. To those people, I say: Bite me.

I think everyone remembers the long journey it took for Bert to reach the HOF, which he finally did in his 14th year of eligibility.

Twins MLB HOF Inductees, 1997-2016

Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes (Peak Year) % of Vote (Peak Year) Career bWAR Time as Twin
Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes (Peak Year) % of Vote (Peak Year) Career bWAR Time as Twin
Dave Winfield OF 1 2001 435 84.50% 63.8 1993-1994
Kirby Puckett OF 1 2001 423 82.10% 50.9 1984-1995
Paul Molitor DH, 3B, 2B 1 2004 431 85.20% 75.4 1996-1998
Bert Blyleven P 14 1998-2011 463 79.70% 95.3 1970-1976, 1985-1988

2. Close, But No Cigar

These are the borderline guys who hung around for the maximum number of years on the ballot, but never quite got enough votes to be inducted. In the past 20 years, the Twins have had three: Jim Kaat, Jack Morris, and Luis Tiant.

If you’re thinking, “What the heck, Luis Tiant was an Indian or a Red Sox or something wasn’t he?” you’re right—but he did pitch one year for the Twins.

There’s a good chance these guys could later be inducted into the HOF via the Veterans Committee.

Twins Almost Inducted Into the MLB HOF, 1997-2016

Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes (Peak Year) % of Vote (Peak Year) Career bWAR Time as Twin
Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes (Peak Year) % of Vote (Peak Year) Career bWAR Time as Twin
Jim Kaat P 15 1989-2003 125 29.60% 51.4 1961-1973
Jack Morris P 15 2000-2014 385 67.70% 44.1 1991
Luis Tiant P 15 1988-2002 132 30.90% 66.7 1970

3. Maybe...? Eh, Nah

These are the guys who at least reached double digits in votes, but didn’t go much further. The Twins have two: Graig Nettles and Jeff Reardon.

I’m not too familiar with Nettles, but he has a pretty high bWAR, whcih I found interesting. Also, what kind of name is “Graig Nettles”?

As for Jeff Reardon... eh, he’s Jeff Reardon—good, but not HOF level.

Twins Eh MLB HOF Candidates, 1997-2016

Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes (Peak Year) % of Vote (Peak Year) Career bWAR Time as Twin
Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes (Peak Year) % of Vote (Peak Year) Career bWAR Time as Twin
Graig Nettles 3B 4 1994-1997 38 8.30% 68 1967-1969
Jeff Reardon P 1 2000 24 4.80% 19.3 1987-1989

4. Kent Hrbek

These are the guys who were Twins legends, but decided to retire early from baseball to drink beer and fish instead. Hence, they never racked up the numbers required for serious HOF consideration. In the past 20 years, the Twins have had one: Kent Hrbek.

Hrbek’s first year on the ballot was 2000, and he received a total of five votes. For those of you counting at home, that’s 1% of the vote, which was not quite enough to meet the 5% threshold to stay on the ballot longer. Hence, Hrbie’s HOF candidacy was a one-and-done affair.

But it’s neat to think if that could have been different. What if Hrbek had played five more years? He would have been 39 by then. Could he have remained productive enough to receive more HOF consideration?

Alas, we’ll never know... but, for what it’s worth: Ron Gant was on the MLB HOF ballot in 2009, and he got zero votes.

Twins Kent Hrbek MLB HOF Candidates, 1997-2016

Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes % of Vote Career bWAR Time as Twin
Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes % of Vote Career bWAR Time as Twin
Kent Hrbek 1B 1 2000 5 1.00% 38.4 1981-1994

5. Honorary Vote Recipients

These are the guys who got at least a handful of votes, but not quite as many as Kent Hrbek. There were 15 of these guys who played with the Twins at some point.

Note: I considered listing Brad Radke under the Kent Hrbek category, but ultimately decided this one was a better fit. It was a close call.

Twins Honorary MLB HOF Vote Get-ers, 1997-2016

Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes % of Vote Career bWAR Time as Twin
Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes % of Vote Career bWAR Time as Twin
Gary Gaetti 3B, 1B 1 2006 4 0.80% 42 1981-1990
Jim Eisenreich OF, 1B 1 2004 3 0.60% 13.4 48 games between 1982-1984
Terry Steinbach C, 1B 1 2005 3 0.20% 28 1997-1999
Chili Davis OF, DH 1 2005 3 0.60% 38.1 1991-1992
Rick Aguilera P 1 2006 3 0.60% 22.4 1989-1995; 1996-1999
Frank Viola P 1 2002 2 0.40% 47.4 1982-1988
Brad Radke P 1 2012 2 0.30% 45.5 1995-2006
Rick Dempsey C 1 1998 1 0.20% 25.3 41 games between 1969-1972
John Candelaria P 1 1999 1 0.20% 42.4 1990
Steve Bedrosian P 1 2001 1 0.20% 14.9 1991
Jim Deshaies P 1 2001 1 0.20% 12.1 Most of 1993
Chuck Knoblauch 2B, OF 1 2008 1 0.20% 44.6 1991-1997
Jesse Orosco P 1 2009 1 0.20% 23.9 2003
Kenny Rogers P 1 2014 1 0.20% 51.4 2003
Jacque Jones OF 1 2014 1 0.20% 11.5 1999-2005

6. No Votes

Consider this the in-memorium section of this historical overview. These guys did enough to make it onto the HOF ballot, but didn’t even garner a single pity honorary vote. Sad!

Twins No MLB HOF Vote Get-ers, 1997-2016

Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes % of Vote Career bWAR Time as Twin
Player Position # of Year(s) on Ballot Year(s) on Ballot # of Votes % of Vote Career bWAR Time as Twin
Luis Castillo 2B 1 2016 0 0.00% 28.9 2006-2007
Eddie Guardado P 1 2015 0 0.00% 13.7 1993-2003, part of 2008
Todd Jones P 1 2014 0 0.00% 10.9 Part of 2001
Jeff Cirillo 3B, 1B 1 2013 0 0.00% 34.4 Half of 2007
Rondell White OF 1 2013 0 0.00% 28.1 2006-2007
Todd Walker 2B, 3B, 1B 1 2013 0 0.00% 10.5 1996-2000
Ruben Sierra OF 1 2012 0 0.00% 16.6 About two weeks in 2006
Terry Mullholland P 1 2012 0 0.00% 11.3 2004-2005
Brett Boone 2B 1 2011 0 0.00% 22.6 About two weeks in mid 2005
Michael Jackson P 1 2010 0 0.00% 19.4 2002
Ortiz Nixon OF 1 2005 0 0.00% 16.7 1998
Bob Tweksbury P 1 2004 0 0.00% 21.2 1997-1998

What do you think? Did any of the names or results here surprise you? Is there anyone you thought deserved more or less consideration/votes?

How awesome is Kent Hrbek? Do you believe Kirby Puckett is a true Hall of Famer?

Who do you think will be the Twins’ next Hall of Famer?

Discuss.