clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Greatest Minnesota Twins: The Twinkie Town Definitive List (Round 7)

Circle Me Bert

6/1/02- Minneapolis, MN - Former Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven, left, waves to the crowd at the Metrodome Saturday night during a ceremony that inducted him into the Twins Hall of Fame. Seated with Blyleven, left to right, former Twins manager Tom Kelly,

Rounds 1-6 Results:

  1. Harmon Killebrew
  2. Kirby Puckett
  3. Rod Carew
  4. Tony Oliva
  5. Joe Mauer
  6. Bert Blyleven

The Minnesota Twins have largely been an offense-driven franchise—and that played out in the first five rounds of this poll series. But kicking off the “back nine” of the top ten we finally have a moundsman.

Both in his early years (debuting with the Twins as a 19-year old in 1970) and his later ones (helping the organization capture its first World Series championship in 1987) with stops in Texas, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland in between, Bert Blyleven was a premiere strikeout pitcher with his “yakker” 12-6 curveball. Post-playing career, he joined Twins TV in 1996 as the color analyst alongside Dick Bremer and immediately endeared himself to fans with his pitching knowledge, risqué sense of humor, and telestrator work. For decades, Twins faithful toted “Circle Me Bert” signs to the Metrodome and Target Field in hopes of being noticed by #28.

The new entry: a Koufax-like lefty pitcher—he wasn’t around for long but was, to quote the Duke, ”awesome—absolutely awesome!”.

Round 7:

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Kent Hrbek

  • Big Kenny was a solid player—some thunder in the lumber (293 HR) and a career .282 BA. Defensively—especially the earlier, lither years—he was immaculate at 1B. T-Rex was “one of us”—born in Minneapolis, grad of Bloomington, entire career in MN pinstripes—who nabbed the final out of the first Twins championship in 1987 after his Game 6 grand slam got them there. Herbie’s affinities for fishing and cracking cold ones have personally endeared him to Twins Territory like perhaps no other.
World Series:Los Angeles Dodgers v Minnesota Twins, October 7, 1965 Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Jim Kaat

  • After 55 innings as a Washington Senator, Kaat made the journey to the Twin Cities, From 1961-1973, he was a fixture in Twins starting rotations. At age 34 he could have called it a career, but ended up hurling 10 more seasons in various locales! Kaat compiled 283 W’s and 16 Gold Glove awards from the mound, then parlayed that playing success into an equally robust announcing tenure. Not a year has gone by in which Kitty hasn’t popped into a broadcast booth somewhere. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022.
GIANTS04001_CAG.JPG Minnesota Twins’s centerfielder, Torii Hunter makes a diving catch on a Rich Aurilia hit to center field in the bottom of the first inning of play at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, Ca., on Tuesday, June 3, 2003. The game was Photo By Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Torii Hunter

  • After nearly a decade (1993-2000) of being doormats, the Twins became competitive again in 2001 and Torii Hunter was the face of the franchise. His sparkling center field defense, solid bat, infectious smile, and competitive fire were reminiscent of predecessor Puckett. Torii’s Twins took home four division titles and the rise to prominence can be thanked for this website’s very existence. #48 returned in 2015 after a similar slump (2011-2014)—and Minnesota immediately became contenders.
Twins - Angels baseball — Brad Radke delivers a pitch against Anaheim on his way to avictory Saturday night.

Brad Radke

  • For his first six MN seasons, Radke pitched for cellar-dwelling Twins clubs. That didn’t stop him from being staff ace, even racking up 20 wins in 1997 and finishing 3rd in AL Cy Young voting. From 2001-2006, #22 was reliability personified on much stronger squads. It wasn’t always pretty—the propensity for first-inning runs and gopher balls limited his ceiling—but his pinpoint control and maddening changeup made fools of MLB’s prodigious sluggers. In terms of career bWAR of any player wearing a Twins uniform, only Carew, Killebrew, Mauer, Puckett, & Blyleven eclipse him.
Boston Red Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Sherman/Getty Images

Johan Santana

  • From 2003 through 2007, one could make a convincing case that Johan Santana was the best pitcher in all of Major League Baseball. Smoosh together those years and you get this average 162-game line: 31 GS, 17-7, 220 IP, 237 K, 1.01 WHIP, 154 ERA+ (also consider that half of his ‘03 came out of the bullpen!). His electric fastball and devastating circle changeup utterly baffled opposing batters—a true A-1 ace. Not bad for a 1999 Rule 5 pickup. Johan was traded to the New York Mets after the ‘07 season and after a few similarly spectacular Queens campaigns a shoulder injury prematurely curtailed his career.

Poll

Greatest Minnesota Twin: Round 7

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Kent Hrbek
    (116 votes)
  • 31%
    Jim Kaat
    (104 votes)
  • 7%
    Torii Hunter
    (26 votes)
  • 3%
    Brad Radke
    (13 votes)
  • 22%
    Johan Santana
    (75 votes)
334 votes total Vote Now