Puckett’s Pond faces off two notable Minnesota Twins players and you decide which one was greater
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Puckett’s Pond is enlisting your help in deciding who the greatest Minnesota Twins in history are at each position. Eventually we’ll square off each position against the others and wind up with the greatest Minnesota Twin, as selected by you. The first position we’ll be selecting is catcher. We’ll only be counting literal Minnesota Twins and not the pre-1961 Washington franchises. Players also will need 700 PAs as a Twin to qualify. We ask you to consider the player based solely on his time as a Twin and at the position specified.
We’ve faced off Rich Reese vs Ron Jackson in our first match up and Doug Mientkiewicz vs Don Mincher in our second to determine the greatest Twins first baseman. You can still vote in both match ups. The third match up should be a doozy: Justin Morneau vs Kent Hrbek. Both were faces of the franchise during their respective tenures.
Hrbek was drafted by his home state Twins in 1978 and made his debut with the club in 1981. The next year he became the team’s primary first baseman and remained in that role for the next 13 seasons until his retirement. Hrbek had many fine seasons but 1984 might have been his finest. He posted a .906 OPS and a 5.5 bWAR (interestingly, that was the only year he topped 100 RBI). Over his Twins career he slashed .282/.367/.481 and put up 38.4 bWAR in 7137 PAs. He had an excellent defensive reputation—which the stats don’t entirely support (-8.2 defensive WAR, -87.1 defensive runs above average). However, the stats do not dispute his offensive prowess.
Morneau was also drafted by the Twins but in 1999 and made his debut in 2003. He spent 11 seasons in Minnesota. He was the Twins’ primary first baseman nearly all of that tenure—when he wasn’t injured of course. He was an all-star 4 times, a silver slugger twice and he was the 4th Twin to be crowned AL MVP (2006). Over his Twins career he posted an .832 OPS, -5.6 defensive WAR and 23.3 bWAR in 5350 PAs. The Canuck dealt with significant concussion issues in 2011 which limited his production. He’s continued to suffer from head injuries in his post-Twins career. Morneau was traded to the Pirates in 2013 and is currently a free agent.
Who was the greater Twins first baseman? Have your say:
Feel free to leave your reasoning in the comments. Check back here for the rest of the match ups in round one and to see who moves on.