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Greatest Minnesota Twins: The Twinkie Town Definitive List (Round 11)

Leader of the Soul Patrol

Divisional Series - New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins - Game Three Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Rounds 1-10 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

Twinkie Town, David Letterman would be proud—we have a Top Ten List!—and Torii Hunter rounds out the decagonal.

For those who didn’t live through it, it’s easy to forget just how bad 1993-2000 was for Minnesota Twins fans. On the heels of a two-World-Series-titles-in-five-years stretch, things went scorched-earth quickly. Carl Pohlad’s wallet cemented shut, Kirby Puckett woke up blind, the Metrodome was deteriorating by the minute, and Minnesota was unequivocally the laughingstock of the baseball universe. Thanks to Bud Selig’s contraction scheme, the franchise quite literally almost never recovered.

But it did—and Hunter was the face of the Get to Know ‘Em gang. Yes, it was a group effort (Radke, Mientkiewicz, Guzman, Koskie, Jones, etc.), but #48 was the emotional lynchpin. A strong case could be made that he was the most likable, charismatic Twin this side of #34. Need a clutch hit? Torii was there. How about a spectacular catch to save a game? Hunter to the rescue! He did it all with an infectious laugh and megawatt smile, enticing an entire generation of MN baseball fans back into the Dome for fun, winning baseball.

The new entry: “bum bum...bum bum...bum bum...stand up and shouuuuuut!”.

Round 11:

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.
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.

Poll

Greatest Minnesota Twin: Round 11

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Brad Radke
    (54 votes)
  • 43%
    Justin Morneau
    (103 votes)
  • 6%
    Chuck Knoblauch
    (15 votes)
  • 11%
    Jim Perry
    (27 votes)
  • 16%
    Joe Nathan
    (39 votes)
238 votes total Vote Now