Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 34, Hrbek and Morneau home run achievements

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CHICAGO - JULY 26: Justin Morneau
CHICAGO - JULY 26: Justin Morneau /
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The Minnesota Twins are just 34 days away from Opening Day in Baltimore. As we near that day, here is more Twins history related to that number.

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectation with making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card team We will highlight numbers from team history that represent the number of days until Opening Day on March 29th in Baltimore.

At 34 days until Opening Day, there is an easy call on who we could highlight today. Kirby Puckett may be the most deserving as well in regards to a connection to the number 34. Instead, we will take a look at one of his teammates and a favorite of Twins fans that came after Puckett’s playing days. Today we will celebrate the 34 home runs put up by first baseman Kent Hrbek in 1987 and fellow first baseman Justin Morneau in 2006.

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Outside of Harmon Killebrew, there just haven’t been very many seasons or players who regularly spent time hitting more than 30 home runs in a season. 1987 was the one time that Hrbek was able to achieve that feat. He paired it with a slash line of .286/.389/.545 as Hrbek was one of the offensive leaders for the Twins on their way to the World Series crown.

In 2006, Justin Morneau joined Hrbek as one of the few Twins to hit over 30 home runs in a season. It would be one of three seasons in which Morneau would achieve the 30 home run mark. 2006 can be pointed to as Morneau’s best season in his career. In addition to his 34 home runs, he also slashed .321/.375/.559 and added 37 doubles. Those numbers led Morneau to gain league-wide recognition and win the Most Valuable Player award.

Somewhat interestingly, on Hrbek’s path to 34 home runs not once did he have a multi-homer game. Morneau, on the other hand, had two multi-homer games on the way to his 34 home run season. Hrbek didn’t stop hitting home runs when the regular season ended, in fact, he even added a grand slam as the Twins took on the St. Loius Cardinals during Game 6 of the World Series.

Both these first basemen, Hrbek and Morneau, have etched their place in Twins history. Hrbek for being a part of both of the Twins World Series wins. Morneau for being a part of the core that brought the Twins back to relevance and regularly competitive baseball. That is why today we recognize them and their powerful bats as we sit 34 days away from Opening Day.

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