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Greatest Minnesota Twins: The Twinkie Town Definitive List (Round 16)

The Rat takes the cheese

Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Four Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Rounds 1-15 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
  14. Brad Radke
  15. Gary Gaetti

One of the overriding lessons of this poll series has been “do not underestimate the power of the 1987 crew”. That season, the Minnesota Twins cobbled together an 85-win division title season on spit, polish, Dome magic, and a weak AL West. They were given absolutely no chance in the ALCS to dethrone the 98-win Detroit Tigers.

But mirroring Puckett’s Game 6 in ‘91 or Royce Lewis’ Game 1 in ‘23, Gary Gaetti said (if not literally than certainly metaphorically) “get on my back, boys!”. His ALCS Game 1 second-inning home run off Tiger ace Doyle Alexander opened the scoring—then a similar blast in the 3rd gave MN another lead. Even the G-Man’s 8th inning walk set the stage for game-winning knocks from Don Baylor and Tom Brunansky.

Like Puckett, Hrbek, & Viola before him, Gaetti went from rags (early-80s) to riches (‘87) in a Twins uniform. The combination of his solid play—at bat and in the field—plus his penchant for leadership in the tough times & big moments gave him the nod here.

The next entry: the ultimate Swiss Army knife utility player.

(Note: This series will produce a Top 20—so keep your votes coming for a few more weeks!)

Round 16:

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.
Minnesota Twins Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

Cesar Tovar

  • The primary value of Cesar Tovar was his ability to play every position on the diamond—quite literally. His “Standard Fielding” Baseball-Reference table is a sight to behold. But he could also contribute with the lumber and on the base paths. From 1965-1972, his 162-game average was 685 PA, 173 H, 29 2B, 28 SB, even BB:K ratio, and 102 OPS+. Essentially, Tovar was a league-average batter who provided tremendous versatility in the field. Add it all up and he contributed 25.8 WAR with the Twins in a short period of time.

Poll

Greatest Minnesota Twin: Round 16

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Chuck Knoblauch
    (50 votes)
  • 21%
    Jim Perry
    (38 votes)
  • 33%
    Bob Allison
    (59 votes)
  • 5%
    Camilo Pascual
    (10 votes)
  • 9%
    Cesar Tovar
    (17 votes)
174 votes total Vote Now