As the Minnesota Twins coming up on their 120th season, we look back at the five best shortstops in franchise history.
The Minnesota Twins are one of the oldest franchises in baseball, dating back to 1901, when they were the league bottom-dweller known as the Washington Senators. Since that time, the team has won three championships, six pennants, and eleven division titles.
It has also suffered through seven 100+ loss seasons, fourteen playoff defeats, and have lost over 1100 games to the New York Yankees. The team has had some really good seasons, and some really bad seasons. Throughout it all, there have been some excellent players who have carried the team.
These excellent players deserve some recognition , so Puckett’s Pond will be putting together a list of the top players at each position to get ready for the top 50 players of all time. In order to make it on this list, players need to have played over 400 games, been excellent on offense and defense, and played an important role for the team.
After moving through catcher and the right side of the infield, we head over to shortstop. Shortstop, similar to second base, has been a weaker area for team since it’s move to Minnesota, but was a strong point for the franchise when it was in Washington. With that in mind, we’ll get started with the Honorable Mentions.
Years: 2014-2019 (6 Seasons)
Key Stats: 441 G, 472 H, 45 HR, 226 RBI, 29 SB, 147 BB, .281 BA, 7.8 WAR, -0.7 dWAR, 1-Time All-Star, 1 Top-25 MVP Finish
Surprised? Jorge Polanco has gotten off to a hot start in his career, already racking up 226 RBI and a .281 BA over 441 games. He has added in 45 homers and 29 stolen bases in as well, earning a 7.8 WAR over six seasons.
We’ll admit this ranking is a little premature, as he’s only had one really good season, but Polanco has already had a better six seasons than any other shortstop in a Minnesota Twins uniform. His defense needs some improvement as he’s only earned a -0.7 dWAR, but he won’t stay at shortstop forever.
Polanco also has earned an All-Star nod and a Top-25 MVP Finish last season, showing his potential for the future. With the Twins struggling to produce good shortstops, Polanco’s six seasons were good enough to earn a mention on this list. His potential means he could move further up the list in the future.
Years: 1908-1920 (13 Seasons)
Key Stats: 1459 G, 1068 H, 5 HR, 393 RBI, 116 SB, 381 BB, .221 BA, 22.3 WAR, 22.4 dWAR, 4 Top-25 MVP Finishes
One of the first Senators players to reach the 1,000 game mark, George McBride played 1,459 games with the franchise before World War II. He wasn’t an offensive superstar, but his defense was some of the best in team history.
McBride never had a particularly amazing season on offense, with his best numbers coming in 1911 when he led the league in games played and managed to hit .235 and 59 RBI. He was always weak-hitting, but made up for it with his speed. McBride totaled 116 SB over his tenure with the team, good for 18th on the franchise all-time list.
He used his speed to help his defense. His dWAR of 22.4 is by far the best number by any player in team history. His career number 23.3 ranks twenty-eighth all-time in league history putting him in elite company. He finished in the Top-25 of MVP voting four times simply because he was that much better at defense than everyone else.
McBride never led the team to a championship and his offense was worse than any you’ll find on these lists, but his defense was legendary. He will go down as the top defender in team history for a long time.