Minnesota Twins: 5 best middle infield duos in team history
By Nate Palmer
No. 1 – 1969 Middle Infield
Rod Carew and Leo Cardenas
In 1969 the Minnesota Twins finished in first place in the American League West with a record of 97-65. The Twins didn’t do well as they advanced into the postseason as they were swept in the first round 3-0 by the Baltimore Orioles, but the season was still an overall success. And certainly, our next middle infield duo contributed greatly to that success.
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It should be no shock to see Rod Carew on this list. In 1969, Carew was in his third season and continued to be a very good baseball player. He slashed .332/.386/.467 and hit 8 home runs and 30 doubles. Carew also made his third consecutive All-Star game, finished tenth in MVP voting, and his .332 average made him the American League Batting Champion.
Next to Carew was newly acquired shortstop Leo Cardenas. In his first season with the Twins, Cardenas hit .280/.353/.388 10 home runs and 24 doubles. A good part of his contribution to the Twins infield was his defense exhibited by a defensive WAR of 2.9 during that 1969 season.
Overall for the season, Cardenas put together his career best in season-long WAR at 5.1. Carew, on the other hand, had several other better seasons according to WAR. Which really almost put some other tandems he was a part of in the running for this list.
Next: 5 best outfields in Twins history
After looking at the middle infields over Twins history, Carew’s 5.6 WAR combined with Cardenas’ 5.1 for a combined 10.7 WAR in 1969 is the top combined WAR by a middle infield duo in Twins history, placing them at the top of our list for best Twins middle infield ever.