Greatest Minnesota Twins First Baseman Round One: Craig Kusick vs Harmon Killebrew
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, Doug Mientkiewicz vs Don Mincher in our second and Kent Hrbek vs Morneau in the third to determine the greatest Twins first baseman. You can still vote in all three match ups. The fourth and final first round matchup features Harmon Killebrew against Craig Kusick. Yes, this one is a little “David vs Goliath”-like. Someone had to face the Killer. Kusick drew the short straw.
Kusick was signed as amateur free agent by the Twins in 1970 and made his debut with the team in 1973. He played parts of 7 seasons with the Twins. He was never the team’s primary first baseman but was quietly very effective in a reserve role. While not fleet of foot, Kusick is the only first baseman in these match ups who put up positive base running numbers. His best season as a Twin came in 1977 when he posted an .803 OPS, a .370 OBP and 12 home runs. In his Minnesota career he had a .733 OPS, -2.6 defensive WAR and 3.6 bWAR over 1461 PAs. He was traded for cash to the Blue Jays in 1979 and played his last game that year.
Killebrew. That’s probably all that needs to be said but…Harmon made his debut as a 17 year old (!) in 1954 for the Senators. He spent parts of 7 seasons in Washington before the team moved to Minnesota. The next 14 years he compiled his case for Cooperstown. He played large amounts of time at third and some in the outfield but the bulk of his playing time came at first. Over his Twins career (again, not counting his time as a Senator): .884 OPS, -6 total zone fielding runs above average, 475 home runs and a 59.3 fWAR. He played his last game in 1975, was inducted into the Hall in 1984 and passed away in 2011.
(Really quite sorry Craig!)
Who was the greater Twins first baseman? Have your say:
Next: Greatest 1B: Mincher vs Mientkiewicz
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.