We break down the Minnesota Twins’ toughest batting records that may never be broken from both the Twins and Senators years.
The Minnesota Twins have had so many great pitchers and hitters over the franchise’s 120 years. These greats have set some pretty impressive records, but records are meant to be broken. Several of these hitting records, however, are seen as unbreakable.
Unlike with the unbreakable pitching records where Walter Johnson is in control, there is no one batter that holds most of the records. In addition, with Joe Mauer now retired, a lot of Twins records that were in danger are now safe.
With that in mind, we take a look at the five Twins franchise hitting records that will be the hardest to break and which current Twins players or prospect is in the best spot to break it.
No. 5: Batting Average by a Minnesota Twins batter: .334
Who holds this record: Rod Carew
This record’s status as unbreakable depends on how much you believe in Luis Arraez. In order to set a Twins record, you need 1,500 plate appearances, per Baseball Reference. Arraez broke into the league and as a rookie hit exactly .334 over 366 plate appearances. If Arraez hits slightly above last year’s mark over the next two and a half seasons then leaves Minnesota, he will break this record.
However, because that seems HIGHLY unlikely (I think Arraez is more of a .315 guy), this record will stay with Rod Carew. Carew was a specialist at putting the ball in play, as he won seven batting titles, made 12 All-Star games, was the 1967 Rookie of the Year, and the 1977 MVP using that skill.
Because hitting for average at this high of a level is incredibly rare in today’s MLB (no active player has a career mark higher than .314), it’s highly unlikely that someone will top Carew’s mark anytime soon.
No. 4: Triples by a Minnesota Twins Batter: 183
Who holds this record: Sam Rice
It was tempting to also include the record for doubles here, with Hall of Famer Sam Rice also holding that record, but if Byron Buxton can stay healthy and stay in Minnesota, he’ll top that record easily (using his pace from last season). Instead we’ll stick with just Rice’s record for triples.
Rice stands fourteenth in MLB history for triples with 184 (he hit one more triple for Cleveland). The next closest current Twins players to him are Eddie Rosario (22), Jorge Polanco (18), and Buxton (17). They would have to hit an average of 15 triples over the next eleven seasons to top Rice. That won’t happen.
No. 3: Home Runs by a Minnesota Twins Batter: 559
Who holds this record: Harmon Killebrew
Harmon Killebrew hit 559 of his 573 homers with the franchise, a monumental record that helped place him twelfth all time and has stood as the franchise record ever since “The Killer” left Minnesota in 1974.
No player has come within 250 homers of Killebrew’s record, as Kent Hrbek sits second with 293. The Minnesota Twins don’t produce too many legendary power hitters either, with just eight Twins passing the 200 homer mark while playing with the franchise (Killebrew and Hrbek included).
The Twins have transitioned to the Bomba Squad over the past year, meaning this record’s status as unbreakable could change. Miguel Sano sits at 118 homers in Minnesota, so if he hits 39 homers (his 162 game average every year for the next eleven seasons (plus twelve extra homers) he COULD pass Harmon. Those are some big “ifs” though, so this record remains here.
No. 2: Most Stolen Bases by a Minnesota Twins Hitter: 495
Who holds this record: Clyde Milan
In addition to not producing a lot of sluggers, the Twins as a franchise also have struggled to produce speed guys, hitters who are terrors on the base paths. Clyde “Deerfoot” Milan and his franchise record of 495 steals have been untouched since he retired in 1922, nearly 100 years ago.
No one has come close either. In the past sixty years, no player has topped 300 steals, with Chuck Knoblauch coming the closest with 276. In order to break this record, a Twins player would have to steal bases at a rate of 30 per season for at least sixteen and a half seasons. That seems pretty unlikely, thus only two players have a shot at this record: Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis.
If Byron Buxton stays healthy for the rest of his career and he plays the rest of his career here, he has the speed to swipe a lot of bases (he already has 60). Lewis is stealing bases at a rate of 36.5 steals per 162 games, a rate that would help him reach the record easily in the big leagues. He still has to make it to the majors first.
No. 1: Most Hits by a Minnesota Twins Batter: 2,889
Who holds the record: Sam Rice
Though a few players have gotten their 3,000th hit in a Minnesota Twins uniform (looking at you Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor), no player has collected more hits with the franchise than Sam Rice and his 2,889 hits.
Rice sits 34th all-time in the hits category, as his 2,987 career hits (he earned an extra 98 in Cleveland is impressive. In order for someone to top this record, they would need to consistently get hits in Minnesota for a long time, which is no easy feat.
In order to top Rice’s franchise hit record, a player would have to put up 200 hits over 14 season and add an extra 89 hits. With players moving around so much, this seems unlikely. If a player wants to hit that 300 mark, it would have to be an average of 200 hits over 15 seasons.
Luis Arraez seems like the best bet on the current roster, as he is the only player who hits for high average, but I would say Alex Kirilloff is the best bet in the system. He doesn’t turn 23 until November and he has a sweet lefty swing that has helped him hit for average at almost every level. But that remains a long shot, so Rice’s hit record tops this list.