Although the Twins didn’t go by that nickname until 1961, the organization has been around for a while. They were known as the Washington Senators from 1901-1960. The team has two World Series titles as the Twins as they won the Fall Classic in 1987 and 1991. The club has eight retired numbers including Jackie Robinson‘s number 42. Here is a potential All-Time starting lineup for the Minnesota Twins including a designated hitter, a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher.
1. Rod Carew, Second Base (1967-1978)
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1991
Uniform Number 29 Retired by the Twins in 1987
Carew achieved numerous milestones during his career. He won Rookie of the Year in 1967, MVP in 1977 and is also an 18-time All-Star. In his 12 seasons with Minnesota, he made the All-Star game each year. The year Carew won AL MVP in 1977, he slashed .338/.449/.570 with 239 hits and 100 RBIs. Carew reached 200 hits in a season four times with the Twins.
2. Kirby Puckett, Center Field (1984-1995)
Hall of Fame Inductee in 2001
Uniform Number 34 Retired by the Twins in 1997
Puckett’s career didn’t last as long as some other Hall of Fame players, but he still made an impact for the Twins in his 12 career seasons there. He was a member of both World Series titles for the Twins. Puckett was the MVP of the 1991 ALCS when he slashed .429/.435/.762 in 23 plate appearances. Puckett is also a 10-time All-Star, six-time Glove Glove and six-time Silver Slugger award winner.
3. Harmon Killebrew, Third Base (1954-1974)
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1984
Uniform Number 3 Retired by the Twins in 1975
Killebrew played infrequently for the first five seasons of his career. His sixth season was in 1959 when he got a lot of playing time, getting time in 153 games that year. He hit 42 homers that season, one of the eight times he passed 40 home runs in a single season. In 2,329 games with the Senators and Twins, Killebrew slashed .258/.378/.514 with 559 long balls and 1,540 RBIs.
4. Nelson Cruz, Designated Hitter (2019-Present)
Although at the time of writing Cruz has only played one season with Minnesota, he had one of the best years of his career. He hit 41 home runs in just 120 games played, as well as 26 doubles and 108 RBIs. Cruz also had a career-high OPS of 1.031 in 2019. The then 39-year-old also added another homer when the club got swept by the Yankees in the 2019 ALDS.
5. Joe Mauer, Catcher (2004-2018)
Mauer spent all of his MLB career with the Twins. He won MVP in 2009 when he hit 28 homers, scored 94 runs and had 96 RBIs, which are all single-season bests. Mauer made the All-Star game six times, including three years in-a-row from 2008-2010. The catcher also won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in each of those seasons. Mauer had 2,123 career regular-season hits.
6. Kent Hrbek, First Base (1981-1994)
Uniform Number 14 Retired by the Twins in 1995
Hrbek is another player to have spent his entire MLB career on the Minnesota Twins. Hrbek was a runner-up for both Rookie of the Year in 1982, then MVP in 1984. In 1984, Hrbek slashed .311/.383/.522 with 107 RBIs and 61 extra-base hits. The first basemen is a member of both World Series teams, as he contributed one homer in each of the two World Series’ along with eight total RBIs.
7. Tony Oliva, Right Field (1962-1976)
Uniform Number 6 Retired by the Twins in 1991
Oliva is yet another player on this list to have spent his whole career with the Twins. In his 15 big league seasons, Oliva won Rookie of the Year in 1964, made eight All-Star games and finished in the top 10 of the AL MVP voting five times. He was the runner-up for AL MVP in both 1965 and 1970. In 1970, Oliva had 204 hits, 36 two-baggers and 107 RBIs.
8. Shane Mack, Left Field (1990-1994)
In Mack’s five seasons with Minnesota, he played in at least 125 games in four of them. He had a solid season in 1992 where he slashed .315/.394/.467 with 75 RBIs and 101 runs scored, which are both career highs. Mack had a regular-season slash line of .309/.375/.479 in 633 games played. Mack also won a World Series with Minnesota in 1991.
9. Roy Smalley, Shortstop (1976-1982, 1985-1987)
Smalley played in parts of 10 seasons with the Twins in two different stints. The shortstop made one All-Star game in 1979. That year, Smalley had a career-high in home runs (24), RBIs (95) and runs scored (94). He also had a slash line of .271/.353/.441 that season. Smalley won a World Series in his final big league season in 1987.
Starting Pitcher- Walter Johnson (1907-1927)
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1936
Walter Johnson pitched decades before the Senators moved to Minnesota. He was inducted into the first Hall of Fame class back in 1936. The two-time MVP also holds the record for most shutouts pitched in MLB history with 110. Johnson had a career 2.17 ERA and 3,509 strikeouts in 5,914 1/3 innings pitched. He also has 50 Postseason innings pitched with a 2.52 ERA.
Relief Pitcher- Joe Nathan (2004-2011)
In the seven seasons Nathan pitched on the Twins, he made four All-Star games and finished in the top five of the AL Cy Young voting twice. Nathan posted an impressive 2.16 ERA in 463 1/3 regular season innings pitched with Minnesota. The former reliever also struck out 561 batters in those innings, including a career high 95 in 2006.
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