clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Greatest Minnesota Twins: The Twinkie Town Definitive List (Round 13)

That sweet, Sweet Music

Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Rounds 1-12 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
  10. Torii Hunter
  11. Justin Morneau
  12. Frank Viola

The career trajectory of Frank Viola almost exactly parallels that of the 1980s Minnesota Twins. Drafted in ‘81, he struggled mightily—just like his team. From ‘84-’86 he became respectable—just like his team. He peaked in ‘87-’88—just like his team.

As a soon-to-be-two-year-old toddler in 1987, I cannot comprehend how momentous that year was for Twins fans. Viola was an A-1 ace all season and in Game 7 of the World Series—easily the most important contest in franchise history to that point—he went: 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 7 K, 0 BB. Most important of all: a W! In this region’s first professional sports championship ever, Frankie V was the critical cog.

Much like with Kent Hrbek & Kirby Puckett, Twins fans of a certain age harbor a bone-deep appreciation for the ‘87 ensemble—and Viola was a masterful conductor.

The next entry: A sixties slugger who mashed on the diamond and left a solid legacy off it.

Round 13:

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.
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.
Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images

Joe Nathan

  • It’s difficult to gauge the exact value of relievers, as they contribute comparatively little versus starting pitchers or everyday players. But with respect to Rick Aguilera, Joe Nathan was the best fireman the Twins ever unleashed in the late innings. From 2004-2011, an average Nathanator campaign looked like this: 68 IP, 2.16 ERA, 38 saves, 0.96 WHIP, 204 ERA+. When it came to dominant closers of that era, there was Mariano Rivera at the top of the heap—and then Nathan a surprisingly close second.
Los Angeles Dodgers Sandy Koufax, 1965 World Series SetNumber: X11040

Bob Allison

  • Having already been established—1959 AL Rookie of the Year—as a fearsome slugger in Washington, Bob Allison made the Minnesota move as a fully-formed phenom. As solid a batsman as they come, a typical Allison season from 1961-1965 resembled 606 PA, 30 HR, 92 RBI, .871 OPS, 135 OPS+. Though not necessarily known for glove work, Allison’s catch-and-slide in the 1965 World Series is a franchise web gem. After being diagnosed with ataxia—a brain atrophy condition—in the 1980s, he and his family began the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center at the University of Minnesota that still operates today.

Poll

Greatest Minnesota Twin: Round 13

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Brad Radke
    (50 votes)
  • 9%
    Chuck Knoblauch
    (18 votes)
  • 10%
    Jim Perry
    (19 votes)
  • 30%
    Joe Nathan
    (56 votes)
  • 20%
    Bob Allison
    (38 votes)
181 votes total Vote Now