Minnesota Twins All-Metrodome Team

There are only 67 Minnesota Twins baseball games left to be played in the Metrodome… well, barring the post-season, which the Twins may have trouble reaching this year if their offense doesn’t pick it up a little… but I digress.

As one of the many tributes to the Metrodome the Twins are doing this year they are sponsoring an All-Metrodome team. The best Twins who have played in the ‘Dome for the past 28 years; it should be noted that the Twins played 21 seasons prior to moving into the Metrodome.

The Strib has taken their cut on who should make the team, but here is my take:

First Base: The two obvious choices are Morneau and Hrbek. The Strib give the edge to “the Canadian Crusher” but I say, not so fast. Morneau does have an MVP award, but Hrbek has taken second in that voting. The most homeruns Morneau has hit in a year, 34. The most Hrbek hit, 34. Morneau’s career OPS (On Base Percentage plus Slugging Percentage) is .847. Hrbek’s is .848. Seasons playing in the dome; Morneau: 7; Hrbek 13. Edge goes to Hrbek. In 30 years when we talk about an All-Target Field team, I think we’ll be hard pressed to overlook Morneau, but Hrbek is our Metrodome first baseman.

Second Base: I can tell you that it isn’t Todd Walker or Tim Teufel… the only choice here is Chuck Knoblauch. Although he had an inglorious end to his career, Knobby was the Rookie of the Year in 1991, once stole 62 bases, won a Gold Glove, and two Silver Slugger Awards all during his time with the Twins. And even though fans threw their Domedogs at him in Left Field (side note: I was at that game) his trade to New York was still a good move that helped get the Twins out of the 8 years slide they were on, and move back towards respectability.

Shortstop: Greg Gagne is my favorite Twins Shortstop, and he spent 10 seasons with the Twins (although I’d really only say eight) compared to Cristian Guzman’s six… but the nod has to go to Guzman. Guzman led the league in Triples three times and even finished in the top 20 of MVP voting one season. His career numbers aren’t spectacular but they are well above Gagne’s. Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na…. little beard.

Third Base: While I would like to give this spot to Ron Coomer (he was an All-Star!!!), Third Base comes down to two players: Corey Koskie and Gary Gaetti. Koskie was the better offensive player, but Gaetti’s four Golden Gloves and his pre-born-again-Christian days with the Twins are too much to overlook. The nod goes to Gary Gaetti.

Catcher: I pondered Brian Harper in this spot since he batted .306 during his time with the Twins… until I realized he also didn’t hit many homeruns either. The obvious nod goes to the Baseball Jesus, Joe Mauer.

Outfield: There are a couple of ways to slice this one. You can just pick the three best outfielders the Twins have had in the Dome regardless of position, or go position specific. I prefer to go position specific (sorry Torii). CF: Kirby Puckett (goes without saying actually). Left Field: Dan Gladden… the Dazzle Man edges out Lew Ford. Right Field: … … hmmm… this is where it gets interesting. If we were just going with three outfielders, Torii Hunter would be the obvious third choice (and would get a nod above Gladden), but looking at RF for the Twins over the years: Tom Brunansky, Randy Bush, Shane Mack, Pedro “Booger” Munoz, Puckett (played 2 years), Matt Lawton, Dusty Kielmohr (platoon of Dustan Mohr and Bobby Kielty), Jacque Jones (switched from Left to Right for a couple of years) and finally Michael Cuddyer. It probably comes down to Brunansky and Lawton. They have the most time (both have six years and change) and both were All-Stars (Lawton had two, but you could argue that one of them was the obligatory pick, much like Coomer’s in 1999, and his other one was while he was with Cleveland). It’s an even race, but I give the tie breaker to the guy who’s got the ring, Brunansky gets the nod in Right Field.

Designated Hitter: Twelve. That is the average number of homeruns that the Twins main DH (as denoted by baseball-reference.com) have hit per year over the past 27 seasons at the Metrodome. It was a bit tedious to come up with those numbers, but I’d be willing to bet a large sum of money that no other American League team has a lower number than that over the same time period. While homeruns are only one dimension, and probably not a good one to judge any player on, we are talking about the DH position; a position that was created to increase scoring. The Twins have consistently wasted their DH spots on players who have no business being in the lineup for offensive reasons. I’ll never forgive the Twins for starting Denny Hocking as DH in a game. Pathetic. Anyway, my point is that I’m picking from a pretty poor set of players. The Strib gives this spot to Molitor on the back of his 1996 line of: .341/.390/.468. If that’s the case they are making I would submit Chili Davis’ 1991 line of: .277/.385/.507. Molly drove in more runs, but Chili hit 20 more homers (29 total, the most of any Twins DH). Molly was around for three years, Chili only two. But again, when it comes down to a tie, the tie-breaker is rings. Chili Davis is the All-Metrodome Designated Hitter.

Starting Pitchers: I think the starting five is: Frank Viola, Bert Blyleven, Kevin Tapani, Brad Radke, and Johan Santana (not necessarily in that order). Some could potentially bring up Scott Erickson, but factoring in longevity I would lean towards Tapani instead. Beyond that I don’t see much argument on this one. Who else belongs in that group?

Bullpen: I debated on how many relievers one would need for this All-Metrodome team and I’ve settled on one; a single setup man (since you would think those great starters could go 7 innings, right?). And that man is Juan Berenguer. He spent 4 quality years with the Twins and was far superior to any other candidates. Latroy Hawkins had some up and down numbers. Eddie Guardado actually spent quite a bit of time in the relief role before become the closer, but also had some terrible numbers. Juan Rincon was someone I considered, but because of his steroid use I removed him from consideration. And no Twins pitcher loves his fried chicken and swimming more than Juan Berenguer.

Closer: This one comes down to Rick Aguilera and Joe Nathan. It’s hard to look at the stats because Aguilera started for a year with the Twins (so his ERA is somewhat higher), and he was traded to the Red Sox during the 1995 season. So overall, I’d have to go with Joe Nathan. He is more “unhittable” than Aguilera ever was. Additionally I wouldn’t see the Twins trading Nathan away so something called Dave Stevens could save game for a year and a half.

So there you have it folks, here is your starting lineup for the Minnesota Twins All-Metrodome team:

1. 2B Chuck Knoblauch
2. C Joe Mauer
3. CF Kirby Puckett
4. 1B Kent Hrbek
5. DH Chili Davis
6. LF Dan Gladden
7. 3B Gary Gaetti
8. RF Tom Brunansky
9. SS Cristian Guzman

SP: Johan Santana

Play Ball!



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One response to “Minnesota Twins All-Metrodome Team”

  1. wadE Avatar

    In case you’d like to vote for the “official” All-Metrodome team, you can vote here:

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