Not long ago, I finished reading the book Chumps To Champs. Basically, it tells the story of how the New York Yankees organization went from MLB laughingstock in the late 1980s and early-90s to a perennial powerhouse. Inherent to that tale was the development of a core of players—Jeter, Pettitte, Posada, & Williams chief among them—that helped fuel such a rapid ascendance.
This got me thinking about the most talented cores of Twins squads from years gone by. If I were to say “best core”, one would be hard-pressed not to pick the group that took home two World Series titles. “Favorite core”? Based on the likely median age of most Twinkie Town readers, the early-2000s bunch would almost assuredly get the nod. But what about “most talented”, regardless of championships or nostalgia?
The way I see it, the Twins have had five distinct cores of players helping fuel their fruitful periods:
- Battey, Killebrew, Allison, Hall, Rollins, Oliva, Kaat, Pascual, Versalles
- Notable achievements: World Series appearance in 1965, division titles in ‘69 & ‘70, near-miss in ‘67.
- Hrbek, Puckett, Gaetti, Brunansky, Laudner, Viola, Bush, Gagne
- Notable achievements: World Series championships in ‘87 & ‘91, very strong squads in ‘88 & ‘92.
Get To Know ‘Em
- Pierzynski, Mientkiewicz, Rivas, Guzman, Koskie, Jones, Hunter, Radke, Milton, Hawkins, Guardado
- Notable achievements: Division titles from ‘02-’04, ALCS appearance in ‘02, potentially saved the organization from MLB contraction scheme.
M & M’s
- Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Kubel, Span, Santana, Liriano, Slowey/Perkins/Baker/Blackburn
- Notable achievements: Division titles in ‘06, ‘09, & ‘10, near-miss in ‘08.
- Dozier, Plouffe, Rosario, Sano, Buxton, Gibson, Polanco, Kepler, Berrios
- Notable achievements: Playoff appearance in ‘17, division titles in ‘19 (2nd-best year in franchise history) & ‘20.
So, the question I pose...
Most talented Twins core?
This poll is closed
Get To Know ‘Em
As a result of all the losses thus far in 2021, a glimpse has been given—and will likely continue—at the next potential Twins core: guys like Arraez, Alcala, Garver/Jeffers/Rortvedt, Rooker, Larnach, and Kirilloff. Perhaps some of those names can take the Twins to the promised land—or at least a playoff victory. Baby steps.