The Minnesota Twins are just 14 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 after 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.
When we remember the two World Series winning Twins teams, there are two players that immediately come to mind. That era is remembered first and foremost by the big smile of Kirby Puckett who we celebrated earlier this week on his birthday. With Puckett being the first, right behind him has to be today’s player and number 14, Kent Hrbek.
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Hrbek came to the majors with a group of players that became the core of the Twins 1987 World Series team. Like Yesterday’s player Tim Laudner, Hrbek made his debut with the Twins in 1981 but the Bloomington native became a regular for his hometown team in 1982. During his rookie season, Hrbek hit .301/.363/.485 and added 23 home runs, 21 doubles, and was just a little short of 100 RBIs with 92. Hrbek would finish second in Rookie of the Year behind Cal Ripken Jr. and be named to his only All-Star roster.
World Series Contributions
In his early years, Hrbek would be a part of a lot of losing seasons with the Twins. Then in 1987 Hrbek and his bat would help fuel the Twins run to the World Series. In one of his better seasons, he hit .285/.389/.545 along with a career high 34 home runs. Hrbek would struggle a bit at the plate through the World Series but would blast a grand slam home run in game 6 on the way to a Twins victory.
Hrbek’s 1991 was another solid season that helped the Twins have a successful regular season as they would advance to the World Series once again. Hrbek hit .284/.373/.461, 20 home runs, and 20 doubles. Hrbek was always regarded as a very good defensive first baseman and as his offense again lacked during World Series it was his defense that drew attention for a tag. It came on a play at first base where Hrbek applied a tag on Ron Gant that was recorded an out. Braves fans can still be found today screaming that Hrbek lifted Gant off of first base and the runner should have been safe.
Hrbek would continue to play for the Twins through the 1994 season when injuries would cause Hrbek to decide to retire. The former first baseman can still be found around Minnesota as he is truly “one of us.” As we begin to sneak under 2 weeks until Opening Day we remember the retired number 14 of Kent Hrbek.