The next inductees to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame should be
An ugly incident in 2001 has really shaded the memory of what Chuck Knoblauch was for the Minnesota Twins while he was part of the team. He did request a trade from the team when the team was headed into the doldrums right in the peak of Knoblauch’s career, though that is not exclusive to Knoblauch, and many other players who did similar have been called back to the stadium, beloved by fans. Some of the parting shots Knoblauch reportedly had regarding the upper management have been refuted by Knoblauch and upper management.
Knoblauch was the Twins’ first round draft pick in 1989 out of Texas A&M. He moved quickly through the Twins system, and his spark plug role in the leadoff spot for the 1991 Minnesota Twins was key to the team’s turn around and victory in the World Series as he won the Rookie of the Year award.
Knoblauch was blessed with incredible contact skills and speed, but he developed his power to the point where he was on pace to challenge the doubles record when the 1994 season was cancelled due to strike. In his final three seasons before he was traded to the Yankees, Knoblauch hit .321/.420/.470 with an average of 32 doubles, 11 triples, 11 home runs, and 51 stolen bases.
He certainly struggled upon his time with the Yankees and his off-field life since his career ended has not been the best, but Knoblauch is by far the best player by bWAR that is not currently already in the Hall of Fame. His trade also led to the team’s re-emergence in the early 2000s as the team acquired Cristian Guzman, Eric Milton, and Brian Buchanan in the trade, all of whom had significant roles for those teams.
Tovar was signed by the Reds, but he had not broken through to the major leagues before he was traded to the Twins before the 1965 season, and he worked his way to making his major league debut that season as the Twins worked their way toward the 1965 World Series.
Tovar took over as a starter with the Twins in 1966, but he was frequently starting at multiple positions. In 1966, he played 20+ games at 2B, SS, and OF. This would be typical for Tovar defensively until he spent the majority of 1970-1972 in the outfield. Offensively, Tovar was an important cog in the Twins lineup, providing speed and contact ability. His best offensive season was 1970, when he hit .300/.356/.442 with 120 runs, 36 doubles, 13 triples, 10 home runs, and 30 stolen bases. The doubles and triples totals led the league.
Tovar was also part of one of the most memorable moments in Minnesota Twins history when he played all 9 positions on September 22nd, 1968.
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