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Greatest Minnesota Twins: The Twinkie Town Definitive List (Round 10)

Cy Santana

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Rounds 1-9 Results:

  1. Harmon Killebrew
  2. Kirby Puckett
  3. Rod Carew
  4. Tony Oliva
  5. Joe Mauer
  6. Bert Blyleven
  7. Kent Hrbek
  8. Jim Kaat
  9. Johan Santana

Sometimes, complete and utter dominance—even if for a relatively short period of time—wins the day. Matched up against the “face of the franchise” Hunter and the “steady as she goes” Radke, it was the brilliance of Johan Santana that secured him a place in the top ten.

Though a well-established joke that I routinely saw Kyle Lohse or Carlos Silva at the Metrodome when I wanted Santana, don’t let levity distract from his status in the mid-2000s. If I had to pick one SP across Minnesota Twins franchise history to toe the rubber in an elimination game, it would—with the possible exception of 1991 Jack Morris—be Johan.

The new entry: a hybrid hurler who provided value whenever he entered a contest.

Round 10:

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.
ALDS Game 2: Oakland A’s v Minnesota Twins

Justin Morneau

  • From 2005 to mid-2010, one could make a compelling case that Justin Morneau was the Twins’ most prodigious slugger this side of Harmon Killebrew. On a 162-game average in that span, Morneau was putting up 31 home runs, 117 RBI, and a 131 OPS+. Teaming with fellow “M” Joe Mauer, Justin won AL MVP in 2006, finished second in 2008, and was a perpetual All-Star. His left-handed swing was perfect for blasting baseballs over the Baggy ™ or the limestone. Sadly, much like Mauer, Morneau’s batting prowess was slowed by years of concussion symptoms stemming from a knee to the head sliding into second base in Toronto in July 2010. In recent years, he established himself as a solid color analyst in the Twins TV booth.
Minnesota Twins Chuck Knoblauch... Set Number: X51099

Chuck Knoblauch

  • One could make an argument that no Twin had a better initial foray into MLB—all things considered—than Chuck Knoblauch. As a rookie in 1991, the 2B-man played 151 games to the tune of 636 PA, .281 BA, 25 SB, AL Rookie of the Year Award winner & a World Series ring. For the next 7 seasons, Knobby would average .306 BA, 115 OPS+, & 40 SB. His monster 1996 season—.341 BA, 143 OPS+, 14 3B, 45 SB—represented his zenith in a Twins uniform.
Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images

Jim Perry

  • From 1963-1972, Jim Perry was the ultimate swingman pitcher in an era where bullpen specialization was nonexistent. He had a few seasons strictly starting, a few primarily in relief, but mostly he was an equal-opportunity everyman. Perry’s average line from those years: 14-10, 204 IP, 3.16 ERA, 113 ERA+, 1.20 WHIP. There were also flashes of brilliance, as evidenced by his 1970 Cy Young Award and 3rd-place finish in 1969. Fellow moundsman Bert Blyleven continuously gave Perry the lion’s share of the credit for mentoring his teenaged Dutchman self and shaping his eventual Hall of Fame career.

Poll

Greatest Minnesota Twin: Round 10

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Torii Hunter
    (107 votes)
  • 11%
    Brad Radke
    (26 votes)
  • 31%
    Justin Morneau
    (74 votes)
  • 2%
    Chuck Knoblauch
    (5 votes)
  • 8%
    Jim Perry
    (20 votes)
232 votes total Vote Now