Top 50 Minnesota Twins
In 1901 the Washington Senators were formed as a charter member of the American League. While some excellent players suited up in the Nation’s Capital more often than not the team wasn’t very good and would only win one World Series (1924) in the sixty years they played there.
Washington would lose its team to Minneapolis, who christened the team the Minnesota Twins to lure in fans from St. Paul, the eastern city on the Mississippi River from Minneapolis. The fortunes didn’t really change as the Twins were bad more often than they were good. They would finally break through in 1987 winning their first World Series in Minnesota. They would win again in a thrilling series in 1991 against the Atlanta Braves.
While the Twins own the history of the Senators, they don’t celebrate it as nobody from their own franchise Hall of Fame had a celebrated career in Washington. Still, this IS a part of their history and our list reflects as much.Note: Baseball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics and post-season accolades. This is a list up to the end of the 2017 Season.
“The Big Train”, Walter Johnson is not just the greatest Pitcher in Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins history. He has a case as the greatest Pitcher of all time.Johnson only played for the Washington Senators and his accomplishments are earth shattering:
There is no question that Rod Carew was one of the best hitters in baseball…period. The Panamanian born player would win seven Batting Titles as a member of the Minnesota Twins and other than his first two seasons (the first of which he was the Rookie of the Year), he would bat over .300 in every season he was a Twin.
Harmon Killebrew was signed under the then “Bonus Rule” meaning that the 18 year old had to spend two full seasons in the Majors before he was essentially ready. The Washington Senators would then take their time developing the budding power hitter, and they were right to do so. “The Killer” was clearly worth the wait.
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Kirby Puckett was easily the most popular Minnesota Twin of his era. He was also the best player they had during that same time frame.Puckett played twelve seasons in MLB, all of which were with the Twins. Shortly after his debut, he achieved baseball stardom by becoming the leader of his team and was unquestionably the star behind two World Series Championships in 1987 and 1991.
Still with the Minnesota Twins as of this writing ((actually Minnesota is the only team he has ever played for), Joe Mauer has a case for being the best hitting Catcher ever, or at least being named as the best hitting Catcher for Batting Average.Actually, let’s give him that one now.
Tony Oliva was one of the most popular players in Minnesota Twins history and from 1964 to 1971 was named an American League All Star, a period in which he was considered amongst the best hitters in Major League Baseball.
It took a long time. It took a long time for Baseball Hall of Fame voters to take a long look at his statistics, especially the advanced stats, to realize that Bert Blyleven was a Hall of Famer. It would eventually happen on his 14th year of eligibility, in a career that saw half of it with the Minnesota Twins.
During the mid-2000’s a fair argument could be made that Johan Santana was the best pitcher in Baseball. From 2004 to 2007, Santana would win two Cy Youngs and finish in the top five in voting in the other two. He would win two ERA titles, three Strikeout titles, three FIP titles, four WHIP titles and led in bWAR for Pitchers three times. This was the player that during that time frame, opposing General Managers coveted and wanted to build their rotation around.
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963 via the Veteran’s Committee, Sam Rice was a Washington Senator for all but his final season in MLB. Rice smacked 2,987 Hits over his career (2,889 with Washington) and would lead the AL in Hits twice and had over 200 Hits in a season six times. As expected, he would have thirteen seasons where he batted over .300 and had a career Batting Average for the Senators of .323. Rice was also a fleet footed player who won the Stolen Base crown in 1920 and swiped 346 overall bases a Senator.
Although Camilo Pasucal was a five time All Star over his tenure with the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins, the Cuban is a somewhat underappreciated player historically. Dubbed “The Little Potato” (in reference to his older brother, Carlos, who was nicknamed (The Potato”) Pascual was a three time Strikeout Champion and would win 20 Games twice. While Pascual would not finish in the top ten in MVP voting, he did receive a smattering of votes in three different seasons.
A major offensive force behind the Washington Senators back-to-back appearances in the World Series, Hall of Fame outfielder, Goose Goslin, played the first half of his career in D.C.. Goslin was a hitting machine, winning the American League Batting in 1928 and boasting a Batting Average over .300 five times. Goslin would finish in the top ten in MVP voting three times as a Senator and showed power for the team with 127 Home Runs with a .502 Slugging Percentage. He would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1968.
Brad Radke pitched 378 Games in his Major League career, all of which were with the Minnesota Twins. Radke was known for his control, leading the AL in BB/9 in 2001, a category that he also finished in the top five in eight other times. Radke’s best season was in 1997 where he finished third in Cy Young voting. He would go to his only All Star Game the year after.
The career of Chuck Knoblauch was full of yips and disappointment as a New York Yankee but as a member of the Minnesota Twins, he was a superstar.
Joe Judge played 2,084 of his 2,171 career games with the Washington Senators, and while the First Baseman was not what would you call a perennial All Star, he was a player who could be considered well above average and freakishly consistent.
Considered by many baseball historians to be the first reliever of prominence, Firpo Marberry would lead the American League in Pitching Appearances six times and is the first (retroactively) to score 20 Saves in a season. Marberry’s versatility to go from the starting rotation to the bullpen with ease made him in an invaluable asset and a player ahead of his time. Marberry’s pitching acumen made him a vital component in the Senators’ World Series Championship win in 1924.
Considered one of the best defensive Pitchers of all-time, Jim Kaat spent two thirds of his astounding twenty-five seasons in MLB with the Senators/Twins. Katt would go 190 and 159 as a Senator/Twin with 1,851 Strikeouts and had an impressive 25 and 13 1966 season, a campaign where he also led the AL in BB/9 and SO/BB. Kaat is considered to be one of the larger snubs in the Baseball Hall of Fame and if he ever got in it would be as a Twin.
Save for a couple of productive seasons with the Boston Red Sox early in his career, Buddy Myer was a career member of the Washington Senators, the team he began and ended his career with. Myer had six seasons where he batted over .300, one of which saw him bat .349, enough to win him the American League Batting Title in 1935. He was named an All Star that year and again in 1937. Myer, who batted .303 as a Senator with 1,828 Hits, was probably known best for a brawl with Ben Chapman (the racist Yankee who would become…
Joe Cronin is far more known for being a member of the Boston Red Sox. The BoSox retired his number and he represented the American League in the All Star Game five times. Still, Cronin’s overall production with the Washington Senators isn’t that far off from what he accomplished in Massachusetts.
Mickey Vernon would accumulate 1,993 of his 2,495 Hits with the Washington Senators and smacked enough so that he could win two Batting Titles (1946 & 1953). Vernon was chosen to play in five All Star Games and in 1953 he finished third in MVP voting. He also had two more top ten finishes in MVP voting while playing for Washington. Had Vernon even been average defensively (he never had one season where he had a positive Defensive bWAR as a Senator) his ranking would be significantly higher.
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