Minnesota Twins: The Top 50 Players in Franchise History: 20-1
By Otto Johnson
Minnesota Twins Mount Rushmore
The Mount Rushmore for sports teams is considered the four greatest players in team history, and that’s the same rule here. Our Mount Rushmore includes the four best players in Minnesota Twins history, the four most important players to the team.
Three out of the four players are in the Hall of Fame, and the fourth has a very solid shot when he joins the ballot in 2024. All four players left their mark in Minnesota and were excellent ball players and their numbers are retired by the team. With the ground rules set, here is the Minnesota Twins Mount Rushmore.
No. 4: Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer 2004-2018 (15 Seasons) 1858 G, 2123 H, 1018 R, 143 HR, 923 RBI, 52 SB, 939 BB, .306 BA, 55 WAR, 2.9 dWAR, 6 Time All-Star, 3 Gold Gloves, 5 Silver Sluggers, 2009 MVP, 5 Top-25 MVP Finishes, 3 Time Batting Champ
Positional Rank: No. 1 Catcher
The Number 1 Draft Pick in 2001, Joe Mauer is the hometown boy who developed into a superstar. Mauer, the quiet kid from St. Paul ended up with the fourth highest WAR in Twins history and became the defining player of the 2000s and 2010s.
Mauer was an excellent hitter who hit for a .306 average (eleventh in team history), 143 homers (thirteenth), 923 RBI (ninth). He also produced 1,858 games played (sixth), a .388 OBP (sixth), and 2,123 hits (third).
The three-time Gold Glove winner also was a six-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger award winner, three-time batting champ, and the 2009 MVP. He embodied Twins Baseball and was beloved by almost all Minnesotans, locking him into a spot on this list.
No. 3: Minnesota Twins’ Harmon “Killer” Killebrew 1954-1974 (21 Seasons) 2329 G, 2024 H, 559 HR, 1540 RBI, 1505 BB, .258 BA, 60.5 WAR, 71.4 oWAR, -17.6 dWAR, 13 Time All-Star, 9 Top-25 MVP Finishes, 1965 AL-Pennant, 1969 MVP, Hall of Fame
Positional Ranking: No. 1 Third Baseman
By far the hardest decision on the list was which player would be second and which player would be third. Harmon Killebrew ends up going third because he played nine more seasons but he didn’t have the accolades of the player in the two-spot.
Don’t let that take away from the greatness of Harmon Killebrew. The Killer is one of the most feared sluggers of all time, and is the No. 1 power hitter in team history. Killebrew’s power was legendary, and he still ranks first in many offensive categories for the Twins.
The Hall of Famer is first in games played, slugging %, OPS, home runs, total bases, RBI, and runs created. Killebrew is a Twins icon (whose number 3 is retired by the team) and well deserving of his spot as the third best player in Twins history.
No. 2: Minnesota Twins’ Rod Carew 1967-1978 (12 Seasons) 1635 G, 2085 H, 950 R, 74 HR, 733 RBI, 271 SB, 613 BB, .334 BA, 63.8 WAR, 2.1 dWAR, 1967 Rookie of the Year, 12 Time All-Star, 1977 MVP, 8 Top 25 MVP Finishes, 7 Time Batting Champ, Hall of Fame
Positional Ranking: No. 1 Second Baseman
The only thing that prevented Rod Carew from being the best Twin of All-Time was ownership’s unwillingness to give him a pay raise. Widely considered one of the best hitters of all time, Carew was dominant over his twelve seasons with the Twins.
Carew was a star the second he joined the Minnesota Twins winning the 1967 Rookie of the Year and making the All-Star game all twelve of his years with the team. In addition, he won a team record seven batting titles and added the 1977 MVP award.
The Hall of Famer is first in WAR and batting average in team history, while also finishing fifth in steals, and sixth in hits. The former All-Star has his number 29 retired by the team and is a member of the team Hall of Fame, and the number two player in Twins history.
No. 1: Minnesota Twins’ Kirby Puckett 1984-1995 (12 Seasons) 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 Famer
Positional Ranking: No. 1 Center Fielder
There was absolutely no question about which player would land atop the list for best players in Twins history. Kirby Puckett was the face of the franchise throughout the 80s and 90s and was beloved by his teammates, the organization, and fans.
Despite playing only twelve seasons, Puck ranks third in WAR, fifth in batting average, tenth in OPS, eighth in games played, fourth in runs, second in hits, seventh in homers, third in total bases and RBI and thirteenth in steals. He was the most well-rounded Twin ever.
Puckett was also named an all-star ten times, won six Gold Gloves, six Silver Sluggers and finished in the Top-25 of MVP voting nine times (he was robbed of the award twice). Lastly, his greatest contributions came from his clutch hitting, as he lead the team to two World Series titles with moments like this:
No one meant more to the organization than the first-ballot MLB Hall of Famer and one of the inaugural members of the Twins Hall of Fame. The Twins retired his number 34 just one year after glaucoma forced his retirement. He is the iconic Twin, and the greatest Twin of all-time.