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The Twins best Left Fielder in history

Posted by mikelink45 , 22 February 2019 · 832 views

allison gladden young leftfield
The Twins best Left Fielder in history
  • Torii Hunter
  • Ted Uhlaender
  • Rich Becker
  • Mastroianni And Hicks
  • Lyman Bostock
  • Lenny Green
  • Kirby Puckett
  • Jimmie Hall
  • Jacque Jones
  • Denard Span

The best Left fielder in Twins history presents one more puzzle.

This is an addition. I got so caught up in Killebrew I forgot Jim Lemon. He played 120 games in LF in 1961 near the end of his career. I loved to watch him play. Lenny Green, Dan Dobbek and Joe Altobelli shared the rest of the leftfield games. He played seven years with the Senators before they moved. His career numbers Senators/Twins were .265 /334/.470/.805, but only 7.7 WAR because he was not a fleet fielder. He hit 38 and 33 HRs the years before they moved and 14 in 1961. In DC he teamed with Roy Siever to be the power tandum. His last year was with the Twins/Phillies/White Sox in 1963. He was a coach for us on the 1965 WS team.

Once again Killebrew is the on the best page. Because he played 22 years and in six positions he had enough time to spend as much time at 3B as any candidate, as much at first base and most of the candidates and he played 471 games in LF. His line of .256/.376/.509/.884 and 60.4 WAR has now been on three of my analyses. The only other significant place for him was DH 158 games, but the position did not begin until his last two years with the team.

He was not a great fielder, probably true in every position, but he was versatile enough to be in six positions. In was the primary LF in our first year. Lenny Green, Dan Dobbek, and Joe Altobelli also got a good number of games in the position. Harmon had 120 games so they started some and came in for defense in others.
In 1962 he went up from 120 games in Left to 151 and Lenny Green was his primary back up with 87 games and he was a terrific fielder and base runner. In 1963 Jimmie Hall got in 89 games behind Killebrews 137 and Lenny Green only 14. “Allison had 25 doubles, 35 home runs, 91 RBI, led the league in runs scored (99) and in OPS (.911), and earned his second All-Star berth.”wiki

In 1964 Killebrew 157 games, Bob Allison 27 and Lenny Green 6. In 1965 it was Bob Allison’s position with Sandy Valdespino and Jimmie Hall behind him. Hall was mostly in CF that year and Allison, Hall, Mincher, Killebrew, Oliva gave us an historic power lineup. He had a poor World Series except for game two when “His bases-loaded double against Sandy Koufax and a great backhand diving catch of a Jim Lefebvre fly ball were the main contributors to the Twins victory. This catch has been called the best catch in Twins history.” Wiki.

Allison only had 33 games in LF in 1966 and Jimmie Hall had 70, Andy Kosco 31, Sandy Valdespino 18. Allison “was hit by a pitch and missed 91 games, but returned at the end of the season to knock a pinch-hit three-run homer, sending the New York Yankees to the cellar in the American League.”

1967 Allison was in Left 139 games and Sandy Valdespino was in 64. 1968 Allison was backed up by Cesar Tovar and Jim Holt. The last year of the decade it was a scrum in LF – Allison 58 games, Craig Nettles (wrong position) 53, Ted Uhlaender 44, Charlie Manuel (you got to be kidding) 41, Cesar Tovar 40 and five more in single figures.
Allison only appeared in left 12 games in 1970 with Jim Holt and Brand Alyea getting the most appearances ahead of Cesar Tovar.

Allison finished with .255/.358/.471/.829 and 34 WAR for 13 years with the Senators/Twins. He had been Rookie of the Year. He had 528 appearances in LF. And also 196 CF, 631 RF. He will appear on another list.
His later history is perhaps best known. After retiring he worked for Coca Cola and faced a terrible disease that might have affected his latter years in the field – “Allison helped found the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center at the University of Minnesota along with his wife Betty, sons Mark, Kirk, and Kyle, and former Twins' teammates Jim Kaat and Frank Quilici. He continued to battle this rare degenerative neurological disease for eight years, eventually losing his ability to walk, talk, write, and feed himself. Allison died of complications from ataxia on April 9, 1995 at the age of 60 in his Rio Verde, Arizona home.” Wiki.

Tovar took over LF in 1972 with Alyea behind him and Steve Brye third. Jim Holt had only 14 appearances in LF. In 1973 Brye took over LF and Tovar backed him up with Charlie Manuel third. Holt was back with 80 starts in 1973 and Larry Hisle had 50, Mike Adams 23. Then the mix and match continued in 1874 at Steve Braun had 108 games and Larry Hisle 74. Braun 106 and Hisle 41 in 1975.

Hisle took over LF in 1976 and Braun was behind him. 1977 was a fascinating combination of Larry Hisle 71 and Lyman Bostock 60 – two great players. Bob Gorinski got in 30.

Larry Hisle would be with the Twins five years .286/.354/.457/.811 17.2 WAR 470 LF games, 500 CF, 101 RF.

Lets just say things went down in 1978 with Willie Norwood 101 games, Rich Chiles (who?) 59, and Bombo Rivera 32! Bombo Rivera started in LF in 1979 in 61 games, Ken Landreaux 49, Glenn Adams 45, and Dave Edwards 36. Six others had single digits in LF with Hosken Powell the most interesting name.

Willie Norwood would be with the Twins four years .286 /.354/.457/.811 and despite decent numbers had a total WAR of minus – 1.3. He was not a good fielder.

In the new Decade 1980 dropped to seventh in LF appearances. Rick Sofield started 71, Landreaux 55, Dave Edwards 28 ant then Ron Jackson, Glen Adams, Gary Ward and Bombo. Hoping for Bombo 1981 had Gary Ward 62, Rick Sofield 33, Hosken Powell 12 and Mark Funderburk (Another great name) for 6.

Gary Ward owned Left in 1982 with 127 games and Mickey Hatcher had 26. The same two in 1983 with Hatcher in 11.

Bombo was with us three years .266/.327/.372/.699 2.5 WAR NS 103 games in left.

Gary Ward was with us 5 years 285/.333/.461/.794 10.6 WAR 354 games in left for us. Mickey Hatcher took over in 1984 with 100 games and Dave Meier had 41 and Darrell Brown 19. The same two held down third in 1985 with Randy Bush in 38 games.

Mickey Hatcher – 6 years .284/.315/.383/.697 3.7 WAR

Then Randy Bush took over in 1986 with Billy Beane - Yes that Billy Beane .217/.258/.303/.561 in two years with the Twin and then on to Moneyball. We got him for Tim Teufel. Behind Billy was Mickey and Mark Davidson.
Then in 1987, the world series year we had Dan Gladden 105 games, Tom Brunansky 58, Mark Davidson 36. Gladden and Moses in 1988, Gladden, Moses and Bush in 1989, Gladden, Shane Mack, and Moses in 1990. Gladden, Mack, and Pedro Munoz in 1991,

Gladden would be 5 years .268/.318/.382/.700 5.7 WAR and into the radio booth after two years in Detroit.
Shane Mack took over in 1992 backed by Darren Reed. Mack split time with Pedro Munoz and Dave McCarty in 1993 and again in 1994, the strike year. He did play 180 games at CF, 180 RF, as well as 352 in LF. It is hard to separate OF since they switch so much.Mack was out greatest Rule V pick.

Mack was a Twin 5 years, .309/.375/.479/.854 19.6 WAR 352 games in left.

Marty Cordova took over in 1995 with Jerald Clark second in Left. And had 145 appearances in 1996, Rich Becker 15. Cordova had less in 1997 and Matt Lawton picked up the rest. Cordova still had LF in 1998 with Alex Ochoa, Denny Hocking, Chris Latham and Matt Lawton sharing the rest. Cordova had been Rookie of the Year and looked good, but like Castino his back ruined his career. “Between 1997 and 2000, he missed 240 games while on the injured list.” Wiki

Cordova played five years with the Twins .277/.348/.451/.799. 5.8 WAR

In 1999 Chad Allen took over with Hocking having the second most. Allen lasted one year and Jacque Jones took over in 2000 playing 90 games and Matt Lawton 67. Denny Hocking, Midre Cummings, Chad Allen, John Barnes, Brian Buchanan and TORII HUNTER all had games in left that year.

Chad Allen was with the Twins three years and had good stats 275/.332/.401/.732. But his fielding must have been bad because he finished with a minus -0.9 WAR.

2001 Jacque Jones, Chad Allen and Bobby Keilty. Jacque had 137 games. He had 143 games in Left in 2002 with Dustin Mohr and Bobby Kielty getting the rest. In 2003 Jacque had 90 games and Shannon Stewart had 46. Dustan Mohr and Lew Ford had a few. Then Jacque Jones moved to RF in 2004 and Lew Ford and Shannon Stewart split LF with Michael Restovich and Mike Ryan grabbing a few games. Shannon Stewart took over in 2005 with 125 games in LF and Lew Ford getting the rest. Jacque was in RF again. With Stewart, Hunter, Jones we had one of our best fielding and hitting OFs. Then Jacque turned down arbitration and signed with the cubs.
Jaccque Jones .279/.327/.455/.782 11.9 WAR in 7 years 461 games in LF.

2006 Lew Ford 64 games, Rondell White 38, Shannon Stewart 34, Jason Tyner 33, Jason Kubel 30. Then Kubel took over in 2007 84 games, Tyner 47, Ford 35, White 16, and Josh Rabe. Finally, cough, cough, we got a steady left fielder in 2008 when Delmon Young was acquired.

Lew Ford was with us 5 years and in 494 games hit .272/.349//.402/.750 8.3 WAR

Shannon Stewart was with us 4 years 333 games and hit .294/.354/.418/.772 and 4.9 WAR

2009 we backed off a little with Delmon getting 98 games and Span getting 74 which means a lot of defensive subs, and Jason Kubel 29 games. In 2010 Delmon was back out there for 149 games and Kubel 16. In 2012 we had one of those audition years like we have seen with other positions too. Young got in 75 games, Rene Tosoni 38, Jason Repko 24, Ben Revere 13, Joe Benson 11, Jason Kubel 9, Brian Dinkelman 5, and Trevor Plouffe 3! Wow, an entire lineup of LFs.

Delmon Young’s line looks good, .287/.324/.429/.753 but total WAR for 4 years was 1. With a -5,4 defensive WAR
None passed the test and in 2012 Josh Willingham played there 119 games, Darin Mastrioanni 25, Ryan Doumit 16, and Matt Carson (who?) 15. In 2013 Willingham played 72 games, Oswaldo Arcia 56, Clete Thomas 26 and Mastroianni 19. In 2014 we traded WIlllingham to KC for Jason Adam (P).

In Willingham’s three years his numbers are not as good as I remember, of course his 35 HR year is what is most memorable. .232/.353/.446/.799 4.8 WAR

Before he was traded Willingham had 53 games in 2014, Kubel 36, Schafer 34, Parmelee 22, Nunez 16, Herrman 12, Sam Fuld 10, and Aaron Hicks 2. Lots to sort out there, but hardly one great LF that year.
Eddie Rosario took over with 86 games in 2015 and he is the current LF so I will stop here. Rosario has a career left to define him and he could rise high on this list.

Here I am at the end of another long trail of players. This is my best guess and biased top ten.
1. Killebrew in 471 games set the standard. 256/.376/.509/.884 and 60.4 WAR
2. Mack was a Twin 5 years, .309/.375/.479/.854 19.6 WAR 352 games in left.
3. Bob Allison .255/.358/.471/.829 and 34 WAR for 13 years
4. Larry Hisle five years .286/.354/.457/.811 17.2 WAR 470 LF games, 500 CF, 101 RF.
5. Shannon Stewart was with us 4 years 333 games and hit .294/.354/.418/.772 and 4.9 WAR
6. Jacque Jones .279/.327/.455/.782 11.9 WAR in 7 years 461 games
7. Dan Gladden 5 years .268/.318/.382/.700 5.7 WAR
8. Lew Ford was with us 5 years and in 494 games hit .272/.349//.402/.750 . 8.3 WAR
9.Marty Cordova played five years with the Twins .277/.348/.451/.799. 5.8 WAR
10. Delmon Young’s 287/.324/.429/.753 total WAR for 4 years was 1 (I just had to get Delmon on the list).

  • dbminn and Weave like this

In my head, and my personal rankings, I am excluding Harmon for one of the reasons he was so great: he could literally be named the best at 3 different spots. In my head, the HOFer almost needs to be removed from the conversation.

Hence, my choice for Mack as best LF.
    • mikelink45 likes this


In my head, and my personal rankings, I am excluding Harmon for one of the reasons he was so great: he could literally be named the best at 3 different spots. In my head, the HOFer almost needs to be removed from the conversation.

Hence, my choice for Mack as best LF.

It is hard to be so good you cannot be listed as the best, but I understand, he should have only one position among the very best.Mack was certainly outstanding. 

    • dbminn likes this

Jim Lemon?


Jim Lemon?

Jim played only one season - 1961 plus 12 games in 1962.His best years were with Washington DC.

Mike: I agree with your assessment, but did not see his name for 1961.


Mike: I agree with your assessment, but did not see his name for 1961.

You are right, sorry - sorting through these players I sometimes get lost.I am editing and adding.