With the top five lists all wrapped up, we take a look at the starting nine of the best to ever play for the Minnesota Twins.
With all eleven of the top five lists finished up, we put together an all-time lineup of the best players from the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins, with the Washington Senators lineup found here. We went over each ranking and put together a lineup that would be tough to beat.
While the Twins have only been in Minnesota for sixty years, they have produced a strong lineup with several Hall of Famers. They won two World Series and have put together several strong teams, so with that we’ll take a look at the roster.
Starting Pitcher: Bert “The Frying Dutchman” Blyleven (1970-1976, 1985-1988)
Bert has a lot of competition for the top spot here, with several good candidates like Frank Viola, Jim Kaat, and Johan Santana. None of those players had as good of a career with the team as Bert did, one of the main reasons he’s in the Hall of Fame. Bert’s number 28 jersey is retired by the Twins.
Relief Pitcher: Joe Nathan (2004-2009, 2011)
Joe Nathan was the most dominant closer in Twins history, but the relief pitcher group wasn’t an easy one to choose from. The Twins also had several other strong relief pitchers including Rick Aguilera and Eddie Guardado, but Nathan reigned supreme.
Catcher: Joe Mauer (2004-2018)
The easiest decision on this list, Mauer was the hometown boy who became a franchise leader (and may even find himself in the Hall of Fame down the road). Aside from Earl Battey, there wasn’t any one to really consider, and Mauer’s number 7 jersey is retired by the team. A no-brainer.
First Base: Kent Hrbek (1981-1994)
This was another easy choice. One of the best power hitters in Twins history, Hrbek was a Minnesota kid who helped the team win two World Series and was beloved by almost all Twins fans. Justin Morneau was a great first baseman, but he wasn’t catching Herbie, whose number 14 jersey is retired by the Twins.
Second Base: Rod Carew (1967-1978)
The second Hall of Fame player on this list, Carew is considered one of the single greatest hitters of all time. He easily tops Chuck Knoblauch and Brian Dozier as the second baseman of choice. His number 29 jersey is also retired by the Twins.
Shortstop: Greg Gagne (1983-1992)
By far the hardest call on this list, it came down to Gagne and Roy Smalley, with both players playing an important role for some of the best Twins teams in franchise history. Gagne ended up as the choice because he had a bigger role for the championship teams and is a member of the team’s Twins Hall of Fame.
Third Base: Gary Gaetti (1981-1990)
The last spot in this lineup came down to including Gary Gaetti at third and moving Killebrew to DH or just putting Bob Allison as the designated hitter. Gaetti was simply too good on defense and was a huge key to the 1987 championship team, along with being in the Twins Hall of Fame, helping him make the lineup over Allison.
(For those of you worried about Killebrew, he was the Number One Third Baseman in team history, and definitely made the team. Gaetti was a better fielder, so he’s playing third while Killebrew is the designated hitter. Makes the team better.)
Left Field: Tony Oliva (1962-1976)
Though Oliva technically played more in right field, there were too many good outfielders to go around so Tony O moved here, as no Twins who played primarily in left would make the list (Sorry Dan Gladden). One of the biggest Hall of Fame snubs in baseball, Oliva is in both the Twins Hall of Fame and his number 6 jersey retired by the team.
Center Field: Kirby Puckett (1984-1995)
The most important and most beloved player in franchise history takes this spot. A member of baseball’s Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame, and arguably the most famous athlete in Minnesota history, Puckett mans this spot in centerfield. His number 34 jersey is also retired by the team.
Right Field: Torii Hunter (1997-2007, 2015)
Though he played mostly centerfield while in Minnesota, he played right field the most throughout his entire career, so we’ll move him over to right. Hunter had to beat out both Bob Allison and Michael Cuddyer for the job, but it was a well deserved spot in the lineup for him.
Designated Hitter: Harmon “Killer” Killebrew (1954-1974)
As we mentioned earlier, here he is. The only player on both the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins list was an easy call. Killebrew spend more time in Minnesota than Washington and was a star here. Killebrew is in the Twins Hall of Fame, has his number 3 jersey retired by the team, and is in the professional baseball Hall of Fame. Pretty hard to beat.
In case you missed them, take a look at the Top Five Franchise History Lists:
- Top 5 Catchers in Franchise History
- Top 5 First Basemen in Franchise History
- Top 5 Second Basemen in Franchise History
- Top 5 Shortstops in Franchise History
- Top 5 Third Basemen in Franchise History
- Top 5 Left Fielders in Franchise History
- Top 5 Center Fielders in Franchise History
- Top 5 Right Fielders in Franchise History
- Top 5 Relief Pitchers in Franchise History
- Top 8 Starting Pitchers in Franchise History