Over the course of the month, LWOSports will be breaking down the top five MLB players in franchise history for all 30 teams. This article will rank the top five Minnesota Twins players in franchise history least to best by who had the biggest impact for the team. You can check out the other series articles here.
The Minnesota Twins have a rather lengthy history that goes all the way back to 1901 as the Washington Senators. In fact, it was not until 1961 that they moved to Minneapolis to become the Twins. This franchise certainly has had its ups and downs over the years. The Twins won the World Series in both 1987 and 1991, despite those being the only two playoff appearances between 1970 and 2002. As the Washington Senators, they claimed a World Series title in 1924 as well led by famed pitcher Walter Johnson. Their winningest manager, Bucky Harris, actually has a losing record overall. With all of that being said, here are the top five Minnesota Twins players in franchise history.
Top Five Minnesota Twins Players
5. Walter Johnson
Walter Johnson comes in at number five on the top five Minnesota Twins players in franchise history. In fact, Johnson is the only player to make this list from the Washington Senators days but has to be here as dominant as he was. All 21 of Johnson’s seasons were spent with the franchise. There is no doubt that this two-time MVP is in elite company. He led the majors in strikeouts an amazing 12 times. Additionally, he led the league in complete games an incredible six times. He also won five ERA titles as well as led the league in wins six times. Take a look at these numbers to see what pure dominance as a pitcher looks like.
Accolades with the franchise: Hall of Fame, two-time MVP, five ERA titles, 1924 World Series champion, three-time triple crown winner.
Stats with the franchise: 417-279 record, 2.17 earned run average, 1.061 WHIP, 3,509 strikeouts, 1,363 walks, 531 complete games, 110 shutouts (all-time MLB record), 34 saves.
Franchise ranks: 1st in WAR for pitchers, 1st in earned run average, 1st in wins, 2nd in WHIP, 29th in strikeouts per nine innings, 1st in games pitched, 1st in strikeouts, 1st in complete games, 1st in shutouts, 15th in strikeout/walk ratio, 36th in win probability added.
4. Kirby Puckett
Coming in at number four on the top five Minnesota Twins players in franchise history is the awesome Kirby Puckett. What Puckett accomplished in 12 years as a hitter, defender, and baserunner was nothing short of remarkable. He led MLB in hits four times as well as runs batted in once. Additionally, he won a batting title in 1989. Also, Puckett batted over .314 in eight of his 12 seasons while never batting below .288. Kirby Puckett is a great fit here due to his versatility, hitting prowess and all-around game.
Accolades with the franchise: Hall of Fame, 10-time All-Star, six Gold Gloves, six Silver Slugger Awards, 1989 batting title, two-time World Series champion.
Stats with the franchise: .318 batting average, .360 on-base percentage, .477 slugging percentage, .837 OPS, 1,071 runs scored, 2,304 hits, 414 doubles, 57 triples, 207 home runs, 1,085 runs batted in, 134 stolen bases, 450 walks, 965 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 5th in WAR, t-3rd in offensive WAR, t-5th in batting average, 27th in on-base percentage, 10th in slugging percentage, 10th in OPS, 8th most games played, 4th in runs scored, 2nd in hits, 3rd in total bases, 4th in doubles, 20th in triples, 7th in home runs, 3rd in runs batted in, 21st in walks, 13th in stolen bases, t-4th in runs created, 1st in power-speed number, 6th in win probability added.
3. Harmon Killebrew
Harmon Killebrew checks in at number three on the top five Minnesota Twins players in franchise history. Despite a low career batting average, Killebrew goes down as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Clearly, he was one of the great power hitters of all time and because of that, he walked a lot, which increased his on-base percentage dramatically. Killebrew led the majors in home runs a whopping six times while leading in runs batted in three times. Additionally, he led in walks four times as well as on-base percentage once. It was in 1969 that he won the MVP award. During that season, he hit 49 home runs while driving in 140, leading the league in both categories. Also, he walked 145 times which led the league. Killebrew spent 21 of his 22 seasons with the franchise.
Accolades with the franchise: Hall of Fame, 1969 MVP, 13-time All-Star.
Stats with the franchise: .258 batting average, .378 on-base percentage, .514 slugging percentage, .892 OPS, 1,258 runs scored, 2,024 hits, 277 doubles, 24 triples, 559 home runs, 1,540 runs batted in, 18 stolen bases, 1,505 walks, 1,629 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 1st in WAR, 1st in offensive WAR, 12th in on-base percentage, 1st in slugging percentage, 1st in OPS, 1st in games played, 2nd in runs scored, 7th in hits, 1st in total bases, 14th in doubles, 1st in home runs, 1st in runs batted in, 1st in walks, 1st in runs created, 47th in power-speed number, 1st in win probability added.
2. Joe Mauer
Joe Mauer is a local legend after growing up in the Twin Cities, becoming a high school sports phenom there. He chose baseball over a scholarship offer from Florida State to play quarterback. Worked out pretty well for Mauer as he places second on the top five Minnesota Twins players in franchise history. Mauer went on to become the first American League catcher to ever win a batting title. Additionally, he holds the record for most batting titles by a catcher with three. Mauer eventually moved on to first base where he continued to put up solid hitting numbers. Mauer was great defensively as well, cementing himself as a fantastic all-around player for the Twins throughout his 15 years. During his amazing MVP season in 2009, he led the majors in batting average (.365), on-base percentage (.444), slugging percentage (.587) and OPS (1.031) while also winning a Gold Glove.
Accolades with the franchise: 2009 MVP, six-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, five Silver Slugger Awards, three batting titles.
Stats with the franchise: .306 batting average, .388 on-base percentage, .439 slugging percentage, .827 OPS, 1,018 runs scored, 2,123 hits, 428 doubles, 30 triples, 143 home runs, 923 runs batted in, 52 stolen bases, 939 walks, 1,034 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 3rd in WAR, t-3rd in offensive WAR, 40th in defensive WAR, t-11th in batting average, 6th in on-base percentage, 34th in slugging percentage, 16th in OPS, 6th in games played, 6th in runs scored, 4th in hits, 5th in total bases, 2nd in doubles, 42nd in triples, 13th in home runs, 9th in runs batted in, 4th in walks, t-4th in runs created, 17th in power-speed number, 4th in win probability added.
1. Rod Carew
Rod Carew takes the number one spot on the top five Minnesota Twins players in franchise history. Carew played 12 of his 19 seasons in Minnesota, having the bulk of his success there. Incredibly, he won seven batting titles while with the Twins. Additionally, Carew led the league in hits three times, runs once and triples twice. He also had the highest on-base percentage four times during his tenure in Minnesota. His 1977 MVP season was incredible as he hit .388 with a .449 on-base percentage and a 1.019 OPS, which all led the league. Carew also led the majors in runs scored (128), hits (239), and triples (16) as well. Rod Carew still stands as one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball history, with much of his production in a Twins uniform.
Accolades with the franchise: Hall of Fame, 12-time All-Star, 1977 MVP, 1967 Rookie of the Year, seven batting titles.
Stats with the franchise: .334 batting average, .393 on-base percentage, .448 slugging percentage, .841 OPS, 950 runs scored, 2,085 hits, 305 doubles, 90 triples, 74 home runs, 733 runs batted in, 271 stolen bases, 613 walks, 716 strikeouts
Franchise ranks: 1st in WAR, 2nd in offensive WAR, t-48th in defensive WAR, 1st in batting average, t-1st in on-base percentage, 29th in slugging percentage, 9th in OPS, 13th most games played, 10th in runs scored, 6th in hits, 9th in total bases, t-8th in doubles, 8th in triples, 16th in runs batted in, 12th in walks, 5th in stolen bases, 6th in runs created, 8th in power-speed number, 2nd in win probability added.
Honorable mention: Tony Oliva, Goose Goslin, Johan Santana, Kent Hrbek, Sam Rice, Burt Blyleven, Stan Coveleski.
The top five Minnesota Twins players in franchise history provided five incredible players to be certain. Even the honorable mention is loaded. With Joe Mauer retiring following this past season, things will look different for the franchise in 2019. Can anybody surpass Mauer at number two and challenge Rod Carew? We will find out as time progresses.
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