Minnesota Twins: The Top 8 Greatest Left-Handed Hitters in Twins History
By Greg Simbeck
Minnesota Twins Greatest Left-Hander No. 3: Joe Mauer (2004-2018)
Joe Mauer is another local kid who made good. I first heard of Joe when he was 13 and playing for his dad and a buddy of mine. I asked my friend how good Joe was. My friend told me that he will make the big leagues, but probably as a first baseman. It’s kind of funny how things work out.
The pride of Cretin-Derham Hall went on to become an incredibly accomplished major league hitter. Joe would won three batting titles, three Gold Gloves, and was named the MVP of the American League in 2009. He was simply the best catcher in the game for several years, and has an argument as one of the best hitting catchers ever.
This 6-time All-Star had one of the most perfect swings of any big-league player ever, helping him maintain a positive impact on the Twins, even as he got older. Joe ended his 15-year major league baseball career with a .306 batting average, which is one heck of a career number.
Minnesota Twins Greatest Left-Hander No. 2: Tony Oliva (1962-1976)
Tony Oliva was a five-tool player during his first several seasons with the Minnesota Twins. Possessing both power and speed, Tony ripped up the American league, winning 3 batting titles, while also hitting for power and becoming a run producing machine.
Tony was also a prodigious fielder with a great arm as evidenced by the reticence with which base runners would attempt to take an extra base with him patrolling right field. The combination of these skills led Oliva to being selected for the All-Star Game 8 times.
Knee injuries robbed him of a brilliant second act, but for several years, Tony was one of the most feared and respected hitters in the game and still is a terrific ambassador for the team to this day. He belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Minnesota Twins Greatest Left-Hander No 1: Rod Carew (1967-1978)
As many of you who have read my pieces before know, Rod Carew is my favorite Minnesota Twin of all time. I watched him many times in my youth and I was always mesmerized by his combination of talent and gracefulness. He truly was an artist with the bat.
I will start with a quote from Catfish Hunter regarding Mr. Carew. “He has no weakness as a hitter. Pitch him inside, outside, high, low, fast stuff, breaking balls-anything you throw he can handle. He swings with the pitch; that is why he’s so great, He has no holes.”
“Mr. Smooth” was selected to the All-Star game 18 times throughout his illustrious career. He won 7 batting titles and finished his playing days with a .328 batting average and 3,053 hits. He was also named American League Rookie of the Year in 1967 and the MVP of the American League in 1977. Did I mention, he stole home 7 times in the 1969 season?
Rod Carew is regarded as one of the single greatest hitters of all time for his ability to constantly put the ball in play. It makes sense that he lands on top of our list of best lefties in Twins history. What a special player he was.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section. Thanks for reading the article and following Puckett’s Pond.