The announcement of Johan Santana's well-deserved selection to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame as well as the round-and-round Twitter and blog conversation about MLB Hall of Fame selections got me thinking: Who is in the Twins Hall of Fame that might surprise and who are other deserving candidates.
I'm going to begin with a couple of caveats. First, I'll only be talking here about players in the Twins Hall of Fame. Front-office personnel and managers (well, manager) are wonderful and important parts of the Hall - just outside the scope of the following exercise. Second, my own generation and experience of being a Twins fan colors my perceptions as they do for all of us. So, I was 11 and 15 for the two World Series runs. Puckett, Hrbek, Gagne - they were my guys. The older generation - Killebrew, Oliva, Carew, etc. I saw some of but mostly know the history. AND I haven't lived in Minnesota since 1993. Nowadays that's no big deal. MLB.tv allows me to feel like I see and know all the Twins. But there was a hole in the 1990s and early 2000s where I only saw Twins games when they visited where I was living or happened to be on ESPN (not often). So there are some, not holes exactly, but weaker spots in my own visceral Twins fandom. See: Brad Radke.
The following chart shows the playing members of the Twins Hall of Fame:
Name Tenure Career WAR Twins WAR Twins Pennants/ Rings MVP/Cy
Name Tenure Career WAR Twins WAR Harmon Killebrew1961–74 60.4 60.5 Rod Carew 1967–78 81.1 63.7 Tony Oliva 1962–76 43 43 Kent Hrbek 1981–94 38.4 38.4 Kirby Puckett 1984–95 50.9 50.9 Jim Kaat 1961–73 45.3 30.5 Bert Blyleven 1970–76 96.5 49.3 Bob Allison 1961–70 33.9 33.9 Earl Battey 1961–67 18.7 17.5 Frank Viola 1982–89 47.4 27.2 Zoilo Versalles 1961–67 12.5 14.6 Gary Gaetti 1981–90 42 27.1 Rick Aguilera 1989–99 20.7 15.5 Brad Radke 1995–2006 45.6 45.6 Greg Gagne 1983–92 26.3 17.9 Jim Perry 1963–72 38.7 26.2 Camilo Pascual 1961–66 37.8 33.5 Eddie Guardado 93–03, 08 13.3 9.5 Torii Hunter 97–07, 15 50 26.2 Michael Cuddyer 2001–11 16.6 12.4 Johan Santana 2000-2007 50.7 35.5 using BREF WAR, including WAS as MIN
We all know there are factors other than WAR, such as World Series banners and Cy Young Awards or MVPs. Incidentally, the only Twins with 2 of those latter awards are Harmon with 2 MVP awards and the latest addition, Johan, with 2 Cy Young awards.
As I said above, this look at Brad Radke was a bit of a surprise for me. If you had asked me to name the top 10 Twins in career WAR, I don't think I would have named Brad Radke. But here he is in 5th place. For me I think that has a lot to do with the timing of my own Twins watching as I said above. For most of Radke's career, I did not watch many Twins games. I knew he was very good. But I think he was under-appreciated, at least by me. What about you?
Which brings me to my question. I will be writing a few follow-ups to this post and wonder what you think about these questions:
- Who is missing here? Who should next be added?
- If the Twins were to embrace the entire history of the Washington Senators franchise as part of their own history, who else might be added to a Hall of Fame?
- If we take retired numbers to be a sort of "inner circle," who will next be added to that group? Those with retired numbers are printed in red above.
What do you think about future members of the Twins Hall of Fame? I'll let you know what I think in a few days.