The Minnesota Twins are just 30 days away from spring training. As we celebrate the end of the blustery temps and the return of the game we love, let’s look at team history surrounding that number.
The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until spring training from now until pitchers and catchers report on February 13th.
The Minnesota Twins opened their team Hall of Fame with six inductions in 2000. Through the class inducted in 2017, the team now has 30 members of that Hall of Fame. We will be looking at the next players who should be inducted to the team’s Hall of Fame later this week, but for our #30 countdown to spring training, we’ll look at each induction class.
Minnesota Twins HOF class reviews
2000: Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett, Calvin Griffith
The first class in 2000 was pretty predictable. The three players who were in the MLB Hall of Fame at the time were in the class, as were two team stars and the owner that brought the team to the Twin Cities.
2001: Herb Carneal, Jim Kaat
A strong argument could be made that Kaat is the best pitcher not in the Hall of Fame once his exceptional defense is added in (something many metrics out there simply cannot accurately gauge at the position). Carneal is a voice that those Twins fans that heard him will never forget and those who did not hear him live missed out on one of the absolute greats behind the mic.
2002: Bert Blyleven, Tom Kelly
The Twins were ahead of major league baseball by almost a decade in recognizing Blyleven for his greatness. Kelly was recognized immediately after he resigned from the manager’s seat.
2004: Earl Battey
Fitting to mention Battey on MLK day, as he was one of the truly innovative African-American players, able to provide exceptional catching defense along with quality offensive production.
2005: Frank Viola, Carl Pohlad
The 1987 team’s mustachioed lefty ace won a Cy Young Award the next year with the team before being traded to the Mets in a deal that netted the players that helped anchor the 1991 team. Pohlad brought the team into the modern age, playing in the Metrodome, one of the best home field advantages in baseball, even if it was not a great baseball park.
2006: Zoilo Versalles
The 1965 MVP was the starting shortstop for the first 7 seasons of the organization’s time in Minnesota, leading the American League in triples three times.
2007: Gary Gaetti, Jim Rantz
One of the best defensive players at the hot corner, Gaetti offered 30-home run power as well for the Twins in the late 1980s. Rantz was the front man for the Twins farm system for 27 seasons, retiring with 53 years in the Senators/Twins organization.
2008: Rick Aguilera
The bearded closer was at the back of the bullpen for the 1991 championship and a dominant closer for the Twins for many years.
2009: Brad Radke, George Brophy
Radke is one of the more underrated Twins in team history. He is not often thought of as one of the best in team history, but he is among the top 5 pitchers in team history in multiple statistical categories. Brophy was the farm director for the first 15 years of the Twins time in Minnesota, succeeded by Rantz.
2010: Greg Gagne
The slick-fielding shortstop was a centerpiece of both the 1987 and 1991 championship teams with his steady play up the middle.
2011: Jim Perry
Winner of the team’s first Cy Young Award, Perry was the team’s ace in the late 1960s after working as a swingman for years ahead of that.
2012: Camilo Pascual
In place as an ace pitcher when the team moved to Minnesota, Pascual’s absolute best seasons were beyond him by the time he came to Minnesota, but he still made 3 All-Star teams and won 20 games twice in his time with the Twins.
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2013: Eddie Guardado, Tom Mee
The 2013 class honored “Everyday Eddie”, the seemingly rubber-armed lefty reliever for the Twins in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Mee was the first-ever Twins employee and served as the team’s media relations director for 30 years.
2016: John Gordon, Torii Hunter
After two seasons with no inductees, the Twins honored “Spiderman”, their elite defensive center fielder in Hunter, who came back to finish his career with the organization. Gordon was the long-time voice of the Twins.
2017: Michael Cuddyer, Andy MacPhail
After his retirement, the Twins honored former outfielder and first baseman Michael Cuddyer, well known for his clubhouse antics, including magic tricks as well as his stellar play. MacPhail was the orchestrator of the great Twins teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s from the General Manager’s seat.
For 30 days to spring training, we’ll remember the 30 persons that the team has honored with a spot in the team’s Hall of Fame (with quite a few more to come)!
Come soon, spring!!