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Greatest Minnesota Twins: The Twinkie Town Definitive List (Round 15)

Mr. Reliable

Arizona Diamondbacks v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Rounds 1-14 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

There was never anything remotely flashy about Brad Radke. If you passed him on the street, you’d never peg him for a professional athlete. He wasn’t a fireballer, didn’t strike out a lot of batters, and wasn’t ever going to have a microscopic ERA (too many first-inning runs). But, not unlike a metronome, #22 was the rock steady foundation upon which many great Twins moments and rosters were built.

During the abysmal late-90s period, Radke won 20 games (including a 12-win streak!) in ’97 and was the singular hurler fans wanted to see on the bump. After so many team losses, no one would have blamed Brad for bailing after Y2K—but instead he signed on for four more years and led the Twins back to division dominance. In stark contrast—but perfect complement—to Johan Santana’s sizzle, Radke’s pinpoint changeup was the steak, knifing through Steroid Era sluggers with remarkable ease.

Pop-culture studies have posited that adult preferences/tastes are largely formulated between the ages of 13-16. As a newly-minted teen in ’98—old enough to have glimpsed Puckett; too young to have appreciated him—Radke’s reliability rendered him my favorite Minnesota Twin of all time, a distinction that holds true to this writing.

The next entry: a fiery rodent who reliably paced the hot corner and middle of the lineup.

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

Round 15:

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 v New York Yankees Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Gary Gaetti

  • Much like Puckett, Viola, & Hrbek, Gary Gaetti grew through the lean years of the early 1980s and hit his peak as the decade crested. From 1982-1990, a typical G-Man season consisted of 28 2B, 22 HR, 84 RBI, .256 BA, & 100 OPS+. Surplus value could be found in his health (averaging 604 PA in that span) and hot corner defense (4 Gold Gloves). In the improbable 1987 ALCS series victory over the dynastic Detroit Tigers, Gaetti took home MVP. Game 7 of the subsequent World Series saw The Rat field the final out and throw to Herbie for MN sports immortality. Free agency took Gaetti elsewhere after 1990, but he played 10 more seasons in various locales.

Poll

Greatest Minnesota Twin: Round 15

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Chuck Knoblauch
    (31 votes)
  • 15%
    Jim Perry
    (38 votes)
  • 22%
    Bob Allison
    (56 votes)
  • 10%
    Camilo Pascual
    (25 votes)
  • 39%
    Gary Gaetti
    (96 votes)
246 votes total Vote Now