Checking In On Former Twin Craig Monroe

Craig Keystone Monroe was born and raised in Texarkana by a mother, Marilyn Monroe, who knew how to give a child a middle name. He became a high school hero at Texas High School, as did his cousin, former Bears and Lions cornerback Nathan Vasher. Drafted out of high school by the Rangers, Monroe played six minor league seasons in the Texas organization, where he showed both power at the plate and speed on the bases, and made his MLB debut in 2001. Less than a year later, he was claimed off waivers by the Tigers.

Monroe’s career really took off in Detroit when he became a starting outfielder in 2003. Over the next four seasons, he averaged 22 home runs, including 28 HR with 92 RBI in 2006 when Detroit went to the World Series, his last full season with the Tigers. The following year, he battled knee problems and his production fell off, and he was traded mid-season to the Cubs for a player to be named later.

Last we saw him…

Bill Smith picked Monroe up in his first move as the Twins new GM, before making the bigger trade later that month that sent Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett to the Rays for Delmon Young and Brendan Harris. In February, Smith traded Johan Santana to the Mets.

Monroe joined fellow low-impact pickups Mike Lamb and Adam Everett in the new 2008 starting lineup, and didn’t last a season as the team’s primary DH, hitting just .202 in 58 games. He was gone by August.

What he’s been up to since

Monroe made the Pirates out of spring training as a minor league free agent the following season, and got into 34 games, mostly as a pinch hitter. His last game pro game came against the Twins; he went 1-4 with a single off of starter Glen Perkins and struck out facing reliever RA Dickey.

What he’s doing now

Monroe signed on last season as a game analyst for Fox Sports Detroit. He had a huge postseason in 2006 in helping the Tigers to the World Series, and is fondly remembered as a player by fans. You can catch him talking Tigers baseball here and follow him on Twitter here.


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  • Brad Swanson

    I’m 99.9% certain that Torii Hunter will be a baseball analyst in some capacity, after his playing career ends. I remember Hunter saying “Craig Monroe’s a good hitter” after the Twins signed him (and after Hunter had left for Anaheim). We can all look forward to analysis like this, when Hunter retires.

    Sorry, a bit of an aside, but that is how I remember Monroe as a Twin.

    • Benjamin Emerson Noble

      Yeah, somebody will hire Hunter as an ‘analyst’ after he retires: it doesn’t matter what kind of ignorant trash comes out of his mouth, he has a big smile and that sells…

      • Brad Swanson

        Exactly, plus he’s baseball funny, so I can pretty much already see him on set sitting next to Harold Reynolds and Al Leiter.

        • Benjamin Emerson Noble

          Damn it. I absolutely loved Magic Johnson as a player, but it seems like someone told him, “as long as you’re smiling as big as possible, you’re a good sports analyst,” and I fear Hunter will turn out the same…

  • Stuart

    I remember Monroe’s Mother’s Day game when he hit two home runs against Boston. Easily his best moment as a Twin.

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