5 Candidates Who Could Join Minnesota Twins’ Hall of Fame
5 Candidates to Join Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame
With Eddie Guardado joining the Minnesota Twins’ Hall of Fame a little over a week ago, it got me thinking about what other players in team history deserve to be in the Hall. In my opinion, to be part of this distinguished group, a player has to not only put up great numbers during their tenure with the Twins, but they also must have played with the team for a minimum of five years. In addition, some qualities that make these people "Hall of Fame worthy" could be: conducting themselves in a professional manner, playing the game hard, continually focusing on the fundamentals or being an active member in the community. All of those things would garner Hall of Fame consideration in my book; however, my opinion means little to the election committee.
Guardado was one of the most popular players in team history and was known for his ability to pitch every day, garnering him the nickname “Everyday Eddie”. Guardado wasn’t the dominant closer that made quick work out of every opponent he faced, but was instead a pitcher who loved to create drama filled outings and memorable finishes. When it was all said and done, however, Guardado accumulated 112 saves during his 12-year career with the Twins and was an All-Star in both 2002 and 2003 when he put up 45 and 41 saves respectively. In everything he did, both on the field and off, Guardado deserved to be mentioned among the greatest players and people in Twins’ history.
Next year, the Twins will go through a similar process where they will bring one or two players into the fraternity of the team’s Hall of Fame once again. I have created a list of five people, I believe, could be viable candidates for a place in the Hall come next season.
5. Roy Smalley
During his 10 year tenure with the Twins, Smalley hit .262 with 110 HR, 485 RBI, 1046 hits, a .350 OBP and a 20.7 WAR in 1,148 career games. Smalley was a one time All-Star with the Twins in 1979 when he hit .271 with 24 HR and 95 RBI in 162 games played. Smalley now is a broadcaster for the Twins on Fox Sports North.
4. Kevin Tapani
During his seven-year career with the Twins, which included one World Series title in 1991, Tapani went 75-63 with a 4.06 ERA, 19 complete games, six shutouts, 724 strikeouts and a 1.266 WHIP in 1,171.1 innings over 181 games. In 1991, Tapani finished seventh in the Cy-Young Award voting when he posted a 16-9 record and a 2.99 ERA over 34 games. Tapani would be traded in 1995 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a package of players highlighted by Ron Coomer.
3. Corey Koskie
Over his seven-year career with the Twins, Koskie hit .280 with 101 HR and 437 RBI while owning a .373 OBP and 22.1 WAR over 816 games. Koskie’s career was cut short prematurely due to concussion problems, but Koskie remains one of the most productive Twins’ third basemen and helped the team to three division titles during his tenure with the club.
2. Chuck Knoblauch
Knoblauch may be one of the most polarizing players in team history after his career with the team ended via a trade to the New York Yankees that Knoblauch, himself, demanded. Knoblauch was tired of losing and wanted to play for a contender and his outspoken displeasure burned many bridges in Minnesota with Twins’ fans. It even prompted some Twins’ fans to throw coins, golf balls, plastic beer bottles, hot dogs and even a kazoo at Knoblauch when he was playing left field during a game in 2001. Despite the ending to his tenure in Minnesota, Knoblauch still had a very good career with the Twins that even garnered the team a World Series in 1991, a rookie of the year in 1991, and four All-Star appearances. Knoblauch also hit .304 with 43 HR, 391 RBI, 276 stolen bases, a .391 OBP and an astonishing 37.8 WAR over his seven-year Twins' career, which demonstrates his efficiency and value to the franchise. It’s time for the Twins and Knoblauch to reunite and put their differences behind them because Knoblauch belongs among the Twins’ greatest players and in their Hall of Fame.
1. John Gordon
It isn’t very often that an announcer gets elected into a team’s Hall of Fame, but Herb Carneal did it in 2001 and now Gordon should join him in 2014. Gordon joined the Twins in 1987 and retired following the 2011 season. Gordon’s voice and commentating ability resonate with Twins’ fans and he has had a lasting effect on Twins’ baseball that goes beyond simply calling a game. His voice, knowledge, passion and love for the game and the Twins was unique and special during his tenure and it is for that reason that he belongs in the team’s Hall of Fame.