No. 1: Minnesota Twins’ Kirby Puckett
Years with the Minnesota Twins: 1984-1995 (12 Seasons)
Key Stats with the Minnesota Twins: 1783 G, 2307 H, 1071 R, 207 HR, 1085 RBI, 134 SB, 450 BB, .318 BA, 51.1 WAR, Nine Top-25 MVP Finishes, Ten Time All-Star, Six Gold Gloves, Six Silver Slugger Awards, 1987 and 1991 World Series, Hall of Fame
Ignore the stats for a second. Kirby Puckett‘s value to the team alone; the memories he created for Twins’ fans, the moments that the Twins will never forget, and the incredible championships the team won. Puckett is by far the most valuable Twin of all time.
Now to those stats: Puckett played twelve seasons, but ran up the numbers over that time. Puckett was an expert at making contact, amassing 2,307 hits and a .318 BA, ranking second in hits and fifth in batting average.
He could hit for power too, mashing 207 homers (seventh in team history) and scored a lot as well, scoring 1071 runs (fourth) and knocking in 1085 RBI (third). To add to that, Puckett stole 134 bases (thirteenth), averaging ten a season, and earned six Gold Gloves for his phenomenal defense, all adding up to his career war of 51.1, fifth in team history (the top four played longer).
All told, in addition to those six Gold gloves, Puckett racked up a lot of a hardware. He finished in the Top-25 of MVP voting nine times (first in franchise history), played in ten All-Star Games (first), won six Silver Slugger awards (first), and won two World Series (tied for first) before becoming one of two players (along with Rod Carew) to become first ballot Hall of Fame members as a Twin.
Kirby Puckett, or Puck as he was affectionately known, set the bar for what it meant to be a Twins player, and no player (Joe Mauer has come the closest) has met that bar since. The Twins playoff hero is the No. 1 centerfielder in Minnesota Twins history. His career may have ended prematurely, but his memory will live on.
Here are a couple videos to remind you of the greatness of Kirby Puckett:
The Greatest Call in Team History:
The Legend of Kirby Puckett