No. 1: Minnesota Twins’ Tony Oliva
Years with the Minnesota Twins: 1962-1976 (15 Seasons)
Key Stats with the Minnesota Twins: 1676 G, 1917 H, 870 R, 220 HR, 947 RBI, 86 SB, 448 BB, .304 BA, 43.1 WAR, -4.4 WAR, 1964 Rookie of the Year, Three Batting Titles, Eight Top-25 MVP Finishes, 8 Time All-Star, One Gold Glove, 1965 AL Pennant
One of the most memorable Twins players of all-time, Tony Oliva, played fifteen memorable seasons with the Minnesota Twins. Oliva is the franchise’s biggest Hall of Fame snub, as his stellar stats suggest he should be joining his teammates Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew in Cooperstown.
Tony Oliva started his career by winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1964 hitting .323, 32 homers, and 94 RBI, and missing out on the league MVP despite finishing with better stats than award-winner Brooks Robinson. Oliva won the first of his three batting titles that year, and proceeded to go on one of the greatest seven year runs in Twins history.
Oliva was excellent hitting for average and power, finishing with a .304 average (thirteenth in team history) and 220 home runs (fifth in team history). In addition, Oliva did a fantastic job of producing runs, scoring 870 runs (thirteenth) and knocking in 947 RBI (seventh), building to a career WAR of 43.1 (seventh).
His defense was good, as he won a Gold Glove in 1966 before he was forced into a DH role due to age. Oliva was an eight-time All-Star who finished in the Top-25 of MVP voting eight times, helping the Twins win the AL Pennant in 1965 and two division titles in 1969 and 1970.
Oliva joined the organization after he retired as a coach and was the hitting coach in 1987 and bench coach in 1991, helping the team win two World Series and the Twins retired his number in 1991. Oliva should be in the Hall of Fame, and his skill and importance to the team launches him into the top spot on this list.