As they usually do, the Twins kicked off TwinsFest 2019 by announcing who they plan to induct into the team Hall of Fame during the 2019 season. You’ve probably heard by now (I mean, I hope you at least read the headline) that Joe Nathan will be this year’s inductee. Former Twins president Jerry Bell will also be inducted, but that’s neither here nor there.
Over his seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Nathan was a lights-out closer. During that span he ranked third among all relievers in WAR, trailing only the first unanimous Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Mariano Rivera and Francisco Rodriguez (“K-Rod”). Nathan holds the all-time record for saves in a Twins uniform with 260, and quite frankly, was the best reliever the team has ever had.
What I want to ask is: why the heck did it take so long to induct Joe Nathan (or as my Mom calls him, “Joe. No, the other Joe.”) into the Twins Hall of Fame?
I’m going to be honest and admit I don’t really know how the induction system for the Twins Hall of Fame works. There is some sort of fan voting period that never really seems to do anything. What gives?
You may think there is some sort of waiting period after a player retires before he can be inducted, like there is with the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I don’t even thing that is true. Case-in-point: Michael Cuddyer retired following the 2015 season, and was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in 2017, only two years later. Torii Hunter, who also retired after the 2015 season, was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame less than a year later in 2016. Hell, Johan Santana was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame like TEN MINUTES after he retired! Literally.
Nathan made his last MLB appearance in the 2016 season, and it took three years for him to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame? Why?
Furthermore, what about Justin Morneau? Or, gee, I don’t know, Joe Mauer!?!
I guess the team likes limiting the number of inductees each year or something to make it special for everyone, but I just don’t get it. It seems like there is little rhyme or reason to who is inducted and when. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it odd Nathan had to wait this long, and even more odd that Mauer’s number is going to be retired before the team even puts him in their own Hall of Fame.
Anyway, congrats to Joe! The other Joe, I mean.
What’s your favorite Joe Nathan memory? Mine is when he took dirt from the Metrodome mound, saved it for a year and a half, and then poured it on the mound at Target Field when he made his first appearance there. So thoughtful.