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Greatest Minnesota Twins: The Twinkie Town Definitive List (Round 14)

Bum bum, bum bum—yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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

Rounds 1-13 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
  13. Joe Nathan

After 12 rounds of voting where the winner always prevailed by a solid margin, we have our first photo finish! Upon jockeying back-and-forth all week, the Brad Radke vs. Joe Nathan duel ended, fittingly, with the closer taking the final bow.

After Tony LaRussa’s inning-by-inning bullpen blueprint was born in the 80s and gave rise to the one-inning closer (along with the “save”), such became the late-inning model of choice for decades. While Dennis Eckersley, Mariano Rivera, & Trevor Hoffman (plus Billy Wagner from the port-side) perfected the one-out save, Joe Nathan’s peak wasn’t far behind.

Possessing dominant velocity and a multi-pitch mix (rare for a stopper), Nathan electrified Metrodome crowds and was as close to a sure-bet with a ninth inning lead as could be offered. Personally, he was a favorite of mine—so much so that my first blogging attempt was an MLB-hosted site titled “The Closer”—and a memory I cherish is my aunt getting me a navy blue #36 jersey as a college graduation gift in 2008.

The next entry: The first ace in franchise history.

Round 14:

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.
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.
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers Photo by Diamond Images/Getty Images

Camilo Pascual

  • Considering that Camilo Pascual’s first seven MLB seasons with the Washington Senators were nothing to write home about—57-84, 4.04 ERA, 97 ERA+—it is amazing he makes this poll series at all. But the train ride west to Minnesota revitalized the curveball specialist. His next six years (1961-1966) in Twins Territory: 80-51, 3.17 ERA, 121 ERA+. Camilo notched two 20-win seasons, 4 200+ K campaigns, and was a perennial All-Star wearing the TC cap.

Poll

Greatest Minnesota Twin: Round 14

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Brad Radke
    (102 votes)
  • 9%
    Chuck Knoblauch
    (20 votes)
  • 16%
    Jim Perry
    (35 votes)
  • 18%
    Bob Allison
    (40 votes)
  • 9%
    Camilo Pascual
    (20 votes)
217 votes total Vote Now