No. 3: Muddy Ruel
Years: 1923-1930 (8 seasons)
Muddy Ruel took over for Patsy Gharrity in 1923, and Ruel’s impact was a big one. While Gharrity was a solid catcher, Ruel was a great one. Ruel produced a .290 average and 373 RBI over 903 games, to match with very good defense.
Ruel hit through his entire career with the Senators. He is third all time in RBIs, fourth in batting average, and third in hits. Ruel also is on many top 50 lists for all Twins players. He’s 24th in average, ninth in on-base percentage, 43rd in hits and games played, and 45th in RBIs. But that doesn’t come close to telling the story.
Ruel’s calling card was his defense. He earned a 7.1 dWAR, a fantastic number that puts him as the second best defensive catcher and eleventh best player in Minnesota Twins history. Ruel was the best defensive catcher in the game during his career, and is 27th all-time in assists and 17th all-time in double plays by a catcher.
Ruel finished his career with an 18.6 WAR, second highest among Twins catchers (32nd all-time), but his most important moment as a Senator came in 1924. Ruel scored the game-tying run in the ninth inning of Game 7 in the 1924 World Series, sending the game to extra innings.
Three innings later, Ruel doubled after the New York Giants’ catcher misplayed a routine pop-up. He proceeded to score two batters later, giving the Senators one of the largest upset wins in World Series history, and the club’s first championship. That game is one of the most famous final games in sports history, giving Ruel a special spot in franchise history.