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Justin Morneau To Retire, Join Twins Front Office

Justin Morneau hasn’t appeared in a big league game since 2016 and it sounds like he is officially ready to hang up his cleats. His 14-year MLB career seemed destined for greatness before multiple concussions limited near the end of his career. There was some talk of Morneau joining a club last season but that never came to fruition.

Now it appears, the Canadian slugger is ready to move on to his next chapter in the baseball.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Reports are that Morneau will officially retire and become a special assistant in the Twins. The team has yet to make the announcement official but that could come as Twins Fest approaches. Under the Twins new front office, the club has added former players like Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins as special assistants.

Morneau became a star in the Twin Cities on his way to being elected to four All-Star Games. From 2006-2010, he hit .298/.372/.528 (.900) while averaging 27 home runs and over 100 RBI per season. On his way to the 2016 AL MVP, he compiled many of the numbers voters like to see with 34 home runs, 130 RBI and a .934 OPS.

In 2010 with the Twins leading the AL Central, Morneau looked well on his way to another MVP. He posted an eye-popping 1.055 OPS with 44 extra-base hits in 81 games. A slide into second base in Toronto resulted in a concussion that ended his season. Over the next two years, multiple concussions limited his playing time.

Morneau had plenty of other memorable moments throughout his career. Josh Hamilton’s performance in the 2008 Home Run Derby was legendary but it was actually Morneau who took home the title that year. He returned to Target Field for the 2014 Home Run Derby and received a standing ovation from Twins fans.

His 2014 season was also memorable for the fact that he won the National League batting crown. Over 135 games, he hit .319 and outlasted Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen. During his time in Minnesota, he also took home two Silver Slugger awards (2006, 2008) as the top hitting first baseman in the American League.

Morneau ranks very highly in multiple categories on the Twins all-time lists. His 221 home runs are third behind Harmon Killebrew and Kent Hrbek and one ahead of Tony Oliva. He ranks sixth in RBI, ninth in runs and third in slugging.

What was your favorite Justin Morneau moment? Leave a COMMENT and join the discussion.

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30 Comments

I have two great memories: this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0

 

It was his first year in the bigs, playing in Milwaukee, came in as a pinch hitter and put one about 500 feet into the scoreboard in center field. Lots of Twins fans there, outdoor game on a gorgeous day and we were going rowdy.

 

The other was the two run bomb he hit off Zumaya in Detroit in 2006 (this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0). That seemed like the key moment of that pennant chase and Twins never looked back. Remember watching that in a packed bar in Uptown, high fiving random strangers.

 

 

    • USAFChief, glunn, birdwatcher and 7 others like this

 

I have two great memories: this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0

 

It was his first year in the bigs, playing in Milwaukee, came in as a pinch hitter and put one about 500 feet into the scoreboard in center field. Lots of Twins fans there, outdoor game on a gorgeous day and we were going rowdy.

 

The other was the two run bomb he hit off Zumaya in Detroit in 2006 (this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0). That seemed like the key moment of that pennant chase and Twins never looked back. Remember watching that in a packed bar in Uptown, high fiving random strangers.

Your 2nd one was exactly what I was going to say!That was a statement bomb for sure.In a similar fashion to T Hunt taking out a Sox catcher in 2004.http://www.espn.com/...tory?id=1847744Morneau was a fantastic ball player.Very unfortunate he suffered that concussion.Great addition to have him back in the organization. 

    • USAFChief, glunn, snepp and 2 others like this

 

I have two great memories: this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0

 

It was his first year in the bigs, playing in Milwaukee, came in as a pinch hitter and put one about 500 feet into the scoreboard in center field. Lots of Twins fans there, outdoor game on a gorgeous day and we were going rowdy.

 

The other was the two run bomb he hit off Zumaya in Detroit in 2006 (this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0). That seemed like the key moment of that pennant chase and Twins never looked back. Remember watching that in a packed bar in Uptown, high fiving random strangers.

Me three. That was a great moment. Wish I could find the speed of that pitch, but Zumaya was well known to hit triple digits and Justin just crushed it.

Lots of other great moments for this unusually gifted athlete, but that was the one that came instantly to mind.

First pitch, too. Ha!

    • USAFChief, glunn, snepp and 1 other like this

My favorite memory was when he pumped iron with bears.

 

 

 

 

But in all seriousness.  My favorite Twin.  Ever.  One can only ask what might have been with him.

    • USAFChief, glunn, diehardtwinsfan and 3 others like this

Many, many fond memories of Morneau. terrific player. Prototypical 1B slugger who went from being a little scary defensively at 1B to someone you had confidence in. It's a shame the concussions wiped out some peak years when he was really rolling and he didn't get to play in the postseason in 2009 or 2010. Maybe he would have been a difference-maker.

 

One that I'll never forget: 2006 ALDS Game 2 at the old Metrodome. Friend from school stops me in the hall and says, "hey, I got tickets, wanna go?" And we're off. Cheap seats out in the outfield, and it's great. Bottom 6, Twins are down 2-0 when Cuddyer rips a HR and the whole place goes nuts. Just barely over the din I scream to my buddy, "just watch, Morneau's going back-to-back" (I was caught up in the moment, not like I really believed it or anything just wanted it so bad!). And then Justin Morneau launches one into the seats to tie the game and it's bedlam. It's the loudest I've ever heard anything. It was painful. It was great.

 

What a homer. 

 

congrats on retirement, Justin. Glad the club is keeping you in the fold.

 

    • USAFChief, glunn, Puckett34 and 4 others like this

I'm betting he could still play, so he should be a fresh perspective in the clubhouse. It seems like "special assistants" are mostly only around during spring training, though.

    • glunn likes this

I hope he and Kepler instantly form a bromance. Morneau was not nearly the hitter vs LH as he was vs RH, but he was a more competitive AB than Kepler is now.

    • glunn and bluechipper like this

My 10 year old son and I - avid Twins fans transplanted into enemy Michigan territory and suffering through a woeful 2013 season - attending a meaningless late August game at Comerica with our friends who were equally avid fans of the first place Tigers. For one thrilling evening, the Morneau of the M&M glory days resurfaced, completely taking over the game with four hits (including a dinger and a 2-bagger) and a couple sensational defensive plays, thus ensuring a Twins victory and giving us bragging rights for the long late night ride home.

    • USAFChief, glunn, snepp and 2 others like this
Sad that he's done, but happy he's back with the team even if it's not by playing. My favorite memories are June and on in 2006. Santana and Mauer were doing great, but I don't think the Twins make the playoffs if Morneau didn't flip the switch.
    • Carole Keller, USAFChief, glunn and 3 others like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Jan 09 2018 01:22 PM
Just the way he always looked so READY TO HIT every time he came to the plate.
    • USAFChief, glunn and bluechipper like this
Good for him. One of my very favorite Twins of all time.
    • glunn, diehardtwinsfan, snepp and 1 other like this
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Halsey Hall
Jan 09 2018 03:52 PM

I played a round of golf with him in one of the Twins Charity Golf tourneys.It was a blast. 

    • USAFChief, glunn, Puckett34 and 2 others like this
He and his wife always seemed like they really cared about helping the community. I like that
    • USAFChief, glunn, snepp and 3 others like this
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lecroy24fan
Jan 09 2018 04:10 PM

Three homer game in game two of a doubleheader vs White Sox on 7-6-07.

    • USAFChief, glunn and Jham like this
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yarnivek1972
Jan 09 2018 04:16 PM
I remember I called a 9 th inning lead off walk off homerun. Don’t recall what board that was or exactly when.
    • USAFChief and glunn like this
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wiscolorado
Jan 09 2018 05:34 PM

 

I have two great memories: this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0

 

It was his first year in the bigs, playing in Milwaukee, came in as a pinch hitter and put one about 500 feet into the scoreboard in center field. Lots of Twins fans there, outdoor game on a gorgeous day and we were going rowdy.

 

The other was the two run bomb he hit off Zumaya in Detroit in 2006 (this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0). That seemed like the key moment of that pennant chase and Twins never looked back. Remember watching that in a packed bar in Uptown, high fiving random strangers.

I was at the game in 2003 at Miller Park that you cite, and I would love to see video of that bomb to center field - does anyone know where it can be found?We were in the lower seats along the left field line and could not believe how far he hit that.  

    • USAFChief, glunn, snepp and 2 others like this

Home run derby winner at the All-Star game and receives no respect from the National media with the Announcer calling him "Jason".The story of the Twins in the 2000s personified with that anecdote:No matter what just not good enough.

 

It's good to see him back in a Twins' uniform.Interesting to see whether his role will be more than PR, like the other 3 former player recent hires.

 

 

 

    • glunn likes this
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Deduno Abides
Jan 09 2018 06:45 PM
Great news. Good player, good member of the community. I hope he spends a lot of time in the Twin Cities and resumes his charitable activities.
    • glunn and snepp like this
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IndianaTwin
Jan 09 2018 07:33 PM

 

I have two great memories: this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0

 

It was his first year in the bigs, playing in Milwaukee, came in as a pinch hitter and put one about 500 feet into the scoreboard in center field. Lots of Twins fans there, outdoor game on a gorgeous day and we were going rowdy.

 

The other was the two run bomb he hit off Zumaya in Detroit in 2006 (this game: http://www.fangraphs...team=Twins&dh=0). That seemed like the key moment of that pennant chase and Twins never looked back. Remember watching that in a packed bar in Uptown, high fiving random strangers.

 

I was one of the "lots of Twins fans there too." I remember it as one of those "center fielder didn't even turn around" shots.

 

    • USAFChief and glunn like this

The bomb that stuck in the scoreboard in Milwaukee was one of the great "I'm Here!" moments that I'll never forget.

    • USAFChief and glunn like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Jan 09 2018 08:46 PM

he's my all-time favorite Twin.

    • USAFChief and glunn like this

 

Three homer game in game two of a doubleheader vs White Sox on 7-6-07.

That was the first 3 homer game for a Twin in decades.I remember we won the first game in a total blow out.Game 2 featured the 3HR from Justin, and I believe a near cycle from Jacque.But the most memorable part of the game for me was Jim Thome knocking Mike Redmond out cold with his vicious follow through in the first inning.Gardy had DH'd Mauer for the nightcap, and the Twins forfeited the DH for the rest of the game.Garza got a couple at bats and even laid down a sac bunt!1 of 3 3HR games I've witnessed in person.1, Dave Winfield in the Dome with the Angels. (also doubled off the plexiglass) 2. Justin.3. Jose Bautista (went to left, center, and oppo).

    • USAFChief and glunn like this
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pierre75275
Jan 10 2018 03:22 AM
The 2006 home run in game 2 of the playoffs....I was there. Will never forget it. How the crowd energy could be felt..and the HR off of Zuyma. I seem to recall that Hunter and Cuddyer struck out b4 Morneau hit.
    • USAFChief and glunn like this

Great guy and so soft spoken.

Here's from yesterday and welcome back Justin!

 

https://www.mlb.com/...res/c-264851500

    • USAFChief and glunn like this
And now Kitty Kaat too. :)
    • USAFChief, glunn, Jerr and 1 other like this

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