No. 5– 1986 Corner Infield
Going through these lists, it is interesting how several times some position groups will put together their best season a year or two before or after you would expect it. In 1987 when the Twins won the World Series this pair was also a good tandem, but it was the year before in 1986 when Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti had an even better season. The Twins that season went only 71-91 and finished 6th in the AL West.
Everyone’s favorite outdoors television host and air conditioner salesman, first baseman Kent Hrbek, hit .267/.353/.478 with 29 home runs and 27 doubles. In the 1986 season Hrbek also set what would wind up being his career high in runs scored with 85 runs. He matched that total the next season as well on the way to that 1987 World Series title.
The reason this duo has made this list has to do with a great year by the man across the diamond from Hrbek, Gary Gaetti. Using WAR as the benchmark, 1986 was Gaetti’s best season of his career. Gaetti slashed .287/.347/.518 and added 34 home runs and 34 doubles. He defensive efforts gained him recognition as the Gold Glove winner at third base as well as some MVP consideration.
What may go overlooked about this pair is just how consistent they were for the Twins over the years that they played. In the season Hrbek and Gaetti played together, in 5 seasons they both had a WAR over 2.0. In 1986 Gaetti’s 5.8 WAR and Hrbek’s 3.0 WAR for a combined 8.8 WAR puts the pair fifth on our all-time Twins corner infields list.