Minnesota Twins: Best Player In Each Decade Since 1961
1980-1989 and 1990-1999: Kirby Puckett
For a player to be the best player for two different decades, they must have made an impact and played at an incredibly high level. Kirby Puckett did both as a perennial All Star and Hall of Famer, as well as being a fan favorite with Twins fans to this day.
Puckett played on teams with some very good players. Kent Hrbek, Chuck Knoblauch and Gary Gaetti all played during Puckett’s time with the Twins. None of them came close to the production or praise Puckett had.
Puckett played his entire 12 year career with the Twins, making ten All Star teams, finishing top five in the MVP race three times, winning a batting title in 1989 and collecting six gold gloves. He had a hand in the two most magical seasons in franchise history, winning the World Series in both 1987 and 1991.
His heroics in 1991 will forever be remembered not just by Twins fans, but baseball fans everywhere. In what is considered to be the greatest World Series of all time, Puckett forced it to game seven. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Puckett hit a walk off home run. The Twins would win game seven 1-0 in ten innings.
Puckett’s career would come to a premature end due to glaucoma which struck him in the spring of 1996. Although his career was cut short, he still finished with a .318 career average and 2,304 hits. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001, his first year of eligibility.
Puckett was a Twins icon, and no player has come close to his impact on the field in a Twins uniform since. Although that is true, the next decade brought on a pretty dominant star.