In the franchise’s long history, these four players have firm places on the Minnesota Twins’ Mount Rushmore.
The Washington Senators made the move to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins, with the nickname a nod to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. A current playoff losing streak makes World Series titles in 1987 and 1991 feel like even longer ago than they are. A World Series appearance early in their history in Minnesota as the Twins came in 1965.
To determine the Twins’ Mount Rushmore, we’ll focus on those seasons starting that first season in Minnesota (1961), spanning three home fields (Met Stadium, The Metrodome, Target Field) with plenty of memorable moments. That’s not to discount the franchise’s history in Washington, it’s just not especially meaningful to a Twins’ Mount Rushmore conversation.
The era people grew up in is sure to skew a determination of the four greatest players in Twins’ history to some degree. But even with that in mind, these four players are pretty much inarguably the four who belong on this Mount Rushmore.
Minnesota Twins: Harmon Killebrew is the first man on this Mount Rushmore
One of Killebrew’s nicknames, “The Killer” was too easy as a take-off of his last name and was against the grain of his personality. He was a power hitter ahead of his time, still 12th on the all-time list with 573 round-trippers.
Killebrew started his career in Washington. However, as a Twin he became a star. From 1961-1971, he was an All-Star 10 times in 11 seasons with eight seasons were hit more than 40 home runs. During his 1969 AL MVP campaign, he hit a major-league leading 49 home runs and led baseball with 140 RBI while posting a .427 on-base percentage.
Killebrew took his place at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1984.
The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., now sits where Met Stadium once stood. In the mall, there’s a marker of where the 522-foot home run Killebrew hit in 1967 landed. A road near the mall is called Killebrew Drive.
Killebrew, who passed away in 2011, was famous for having an impeccable and easy to read autograph. Michael Cuddyer would become a Twins’ stalwart, but an early encounter with Killebrew at a signing event shaped how he signed his own autograph.
Cuddyer again recounted the story to MLB Fan Cave in 2013.
Before I met Harmon — before Harmon had ever seen my signature — it kind of looked like an EKG,” Cuddyer said. “It was kind of zig-zag. People didn’t know if it was my heartbeat or if it was my name. So I did a signing with Harmon, balls kept coming through, and he kept looking at this chicken scratch. Finally he asked whose this was. There weren’t very many other people signing, so it was pretty easy to decide it was my signature. He told me, ‘If I see this come through the line again, I’m going to stop signing. I’m going to get up and walk away, and the only person these thousands of people will be mad at is you.
The first star in Twins’ history after the move to Minnesota is the only way to start this Mount Rushmore.