Top 12 Twins To Wear #12
Yesterday's date is one of those weird dates that only come along once in a lifetime: 12-12-12. Last year on 11-11-11, I counted down the top 11 players to ever wear the number 11 for the Twins. This was fun because it looked at players from every decade of Twins baseball. It covered guys like Chuck Knoblach, Jacque Jones, and Ben Revere. I even named Tom Nieto as the worst player to wear number 11 for the Twins.
Below you will find the rankings of the top Twins players to wear number 12. These rankings are strictly based on their time with the number 12 on their backs in a Minnesota uniform.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
12. Lenny Faedo (wore #12 from 1982-84)
WAR 0, .256/.291/.321, 5 HR , 46 RBI
Faedo was a part time player for the Twins in the early 1980s as he played most of his time at shortstop for the club. There were some struggles on the defensive side of the ball and he never really hit well enough to stick at an important up the middle infield position. He would play his last game with the Twins in 1984 and he never made it back to the big leagues.
11. Adam Everett (wore #12 in 2008)
WAR 0.1, 213/.278/.323, 2 HR, 20 RBI
The Twins wanted a veteran presence in their middle infield for the start of the 2008 season. Unfortunately, Everett would struggle during his time in Minnesota and injuries figured into some of this equation. He only made appearances in 48 games for the club but he got a nice tour of the minor leagues during all of his rehab time.
10. Chip Hale (wore #12 in 1996)
WAR 0.1, .276/.347/.368, 1 HR, 16 RBI
Fans of the Twins will remember Hale as a scrappy infielder on Minnesota club's of the mid-1990s. Over his six seasons for Minnesota, he only wore the number 12 during 1996. Hale would play in the most games of his career that season, 85, but it would be his last for the Twins. The 31-year old had never put it all together for the club and he would play only one more year at the big league level.
9. Tom Prince (wore #12 from 2001-03)
WAR 1.4, .219/.300/.374, 13 HR, 44 RBI
Prince didn't join the Twins until near the end of his career but he had some of his best seasons while wearing the #12 for Minnesota. He was dangerously close to Drew Butera's range in batting average but he had a little bit more pop in his bat. He could also draw a walk or two and that helped him to get on base. He played most of his last professional season with the Twins before finishing up his career in Kansas City.
8. Jason Tyner (wore #12 from 2006-07)
WAR 1.6, .297/.337/.354, 1 HR, 40 RBI
During his time in Minnesota, Tyner was most known for his inability to hit a home run. He did hit one ball over the fence while wearing #12 and it would be the only home run of his career. At age 30, he played in over 110 games for the first time but he would only play in one more game at the MLB level. The Twins used him at every outfield position and even at DH, which is kind of laughable considering his inability to hit for power.
7. Todd Walker (wore #12 from 1997-00)
WAR 2.0, .290/.349/.425, 21 HR, 124 RBI
The Twins took Walker with the number eight pick in the first round of the 1994 draft but he wasn't ever able to live up to expectations. He hit for average and showed the ability to get on base but his power stroke never developed. He had shown some power in the minor leagues so it was disappointing to never see him shine for Minnesota. The Twins would part with him during the 2000 season for Todd Sears, a man that would play a little over 30 games for the club.
6. Bernie Allen (wore #12 from 1962-63)
WAR 2.0, .257/.323/.383, 8 HR, 21 RBI
Allen's rookie season would come in a #12 jersey and it would be his best season as a professional. He finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year after hitting .269 with 12 home runs and 64 RBI. These were strong numbers for a second baseman but he never was able to reach those numbers again. The Twins gave him multiple opportunities before he left the organization in 1965. He still added some value to the club as it was trying to make its mark in Minnesota.
5. Mark Salas (wore #12 from 1985-87)
WAR 2.4, .279/.320/.440, 20 HR, 83 RBI
Salas might be more remembered for the trade he was part of than his time actually wearing a Twins uniform. In the midst of the team's run for their first championship, the club traded Salas to the Yankees for the services of Joe Niekro. This added a little more pitching depth to the team heading for greatness. Before the trade, Salas had been used behind the plate for multiple seasons. He finished eighth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 1985 but he would never catch more than 100 games after that season.
4. Alexi Casilla (wore #12 from 2010-12)
WAR 4.2, .256/.309/.355, 4 HR, 71 RBI
One of the more recent names on the list, Casilla just finished wearing #12 for the Twins this past year. Minnesota gave him plenty of opportunities to earn a starting job with the club but he was never able to hold the spot. Inconsistencies at the plate and injuries kept Casilla from reaching his full potential but maybe he was never destined to be more than a back-up middle infielder. His career will continue in Baltimore and the Twins will move in a different direction.
3. Eric Soderholm (wore #12 from 1973-76)
WAR 8.3, .283/.363/.405, 22 HR, 118 RBI
Soderholm was taken by the Twins with the first pick of the first round of the January Secondary Draft in 1968. He wouldn't waste much time in the minor leagues as he made his debut for the club in 1971 at 22-years old. He struggled hitting for average in his first couple tastes of the big leagues but he was able to perform decently when given a regular job in 1974-75.
2. Brian Harper (wore #12 from 1988-93)
WAR 12.2, .306/.342/.431, 48 HR, 346 RBI
After winning the World Series in 1987, the Twins brought in Harper to help solidify their catching position. He would play backstop on the team through 1993 and he helped the club to their second World Series title in 1991. He was one of the best catchers in the American League from 1989-93 and some would say that he ranks at the top of the list. His average was above .300 in every full season for the Twins except 1990. Harper ranks as one of the top three catchers in the history of the club.
1. Cesar Tovar (wore #12 from 1965-72)
WAR 24.0, .281/.337/.377, 38 HR, 319 RBI
The easy winner in this contest of the best players to wear #12 for the Twins is Cesar Tovar. He played for the club in the mid-1960s through the early 1970s. His ability to play all over the field came in handy for these clubs and he was able to put together some great offensive numbers along the way. The speedy player was a fixture at the top of the line-up for a generation of Twins fans. His short stature and enthusiastic attitude made him easy for fans to like. Tovar might be best remembered as being one of a handful of players to play all nine positions in a big league game.
BONUS: The Worst Player to Wear #12
Michael Ryan (wore #12 from 2004-05)
WAR -1.2, .234/.282/.314, 2 HR, 20 RBI
And still Gardy would keep playing him...