Minnesota Twins vs AL Central at Designated Hitter

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Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

How do the Minnesota Twins compare to their AL Central competition at DH?

Historically, the Minnesota Twins have a checkered history at the designated hitter position. The first year for DHs was 1973, and the Twins had the legendary Tony Oliva serve as their first DH. He hit the first ever home run for the position against Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter.

But over the 42 years, the Twins have had a love/hate relationship with the DH, never really having someone settle in for the long haul at the position. Instead, they most often use it as a platoon position, or a placecard for a veteran on the decline.

Oliva was already damaged goods when he was the serving as the DH. His knees were done, though Tony’s bat was still quick. The Twins would be happy if their DH put up 16 HRs, .754 OPS, and 92 RBIs every year, as Oliva did his first year. The best year the Twins had at DH was their now-manager, Paul Molitor hitting .858 OPS with 113 RBIs and 9 HRs. He’d also point out that, at age 39 that year, he also stole 18 bases.

Twins did employ a professional DH in their World Series-winning year in 1991, as Chili Davis hit 29 dingers and drove in 93 runs. The 29 home runs are the most for a full-time Twins DH in a season. Meanwhile aging stars Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz hit 33 and 37 home runs respectively as DH last year. Yeah, about that last guy, Ortiz. He was a Twin for the first 4 years of his career, hitting 20 HRs and 70 RBIs in his final year. One that had moved him out of the outfield and into a full time DH. The Boston Red Sox have seen Ortiz hit for over 30+ home runs 9 times since acquiring him in 2003.

Next: Who are the Probable AL Central DHs for 2016?