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  • My Twins Mt. Rushmore

    Back in 2002 I traveled to Mt. Rushmore for the first time; since then I've always imagined what four faces I would put on a Twins Mt. Rushmore. I think we can refer to these four by their nicknames and you will know who I'm talking about.

    Killer
    You canít be a Twins fan from my era and not have fond memories of Harmon Killebrew. His career was about over when I started following the Twins, but I remember the feeling when I found out he would play his final season in Kansas City. I was not a happy 12-year-old that day.

    As I grew into being a baseball fan I learned about the dominating numbers in the late 50ís and all through the 60ís, the towering home runs, the quick swing, the raw strength, all the All-Star Games and the MVP in 1969. Finally there is the classic stance and swing that most people think is the inspiration for the major league baseball logo.

    On top of all that, what puts Harmon at the top of the list for me is the kind of person he was. I learned long ago never to pretend to know what kind of person a celebrity or professional athlete is. The best I can do is enjoy what they do on the field. But I can make an exception with the ďKillerĒ. Iíve gotten his autograph a couple times and he always takes his time, says a few words, shakes your hand and really tries to connect. You have to respect a guy that takes such pride in how his signature looks to the fan. No sports or entertainment star has a better autograph.Harmon Clayton Killebrew, Hall of fame player, better person.

    Rodney
    Harmon is the first player I think of in regards to the Twins, but when I was a kid Rod Carew was my guy. He was the player who was so much fun to imitate (or try to). We did not have many chances to watch the Twins on TV in the 70's, but when you watched Mr. Carew, the images of his game stayed with you. There was the way he stepped into the batter's box, placed a hand on the top of his batting helmet (the one with no ear flaps) and settled in. Next was the way he put his weight on the his back foot, then slowly, deliberately extended the arms a few times before the pitch came in, all the while having that huge wad of bubble gum and chew in his right cheek. He had that smooth classic swing slapping the ball wherever he wanted, swinging at the last instant.

    What other player made it so cool to bunt? I have a lifelong friend from back home named Mike, he was an even bigger fan of Rodney, he was always trying to drop that bunt down like Carew. Finally, on the bases, there was the smooth gait and the classic hook slide turning a single into a double and a double into a triple, and no one was better at stealing home.The first Twins game I went to was in June of 1977 and that was the year he batted .388 and won the MVP. I saw him go 4-5 with six RBI in a 19-12 win over the White Sox. You can't ask for a better game your first time at the ballpark. Seeing Rodney leave the Twins for the Angels was a blow bigger than when Harmon left for Kansas City. Rodney Cline Carew, the classic hitter.

    Puck
    As much fun as it was following the Twins as I grew up, I have to admit I was getting tired of all the mediocre seasons. We all know how the Twins developed great talents only to see them leave just as they approached their prime. That meant lots of 80-85 win seasons and no playoffs.

    That all changed when Kirby Puckett burst onto the scene. For me Kirby was just fun to watch. You always felt he was going to do something special and usually he did. More than any other Twin he was a winner. The Twins would not have won the series in 1987 or 1991 without Kirby. As he famously promised, if the guys jump on his back he'd bring them home. Not only could he deliver, but he did in the biggest moments. Kirby Puckett, he made it fun to be a Twins fan again.


    Tony O
    Tony Oliva was another player near the end of his career when I started following the Twins. As I saw Tony at Twins Fest, watched him make appearances on Twins broadcasts, heard him interviewed and listened to people talk about him, I learned that he is a special personality and a big part of Twins' history.

    When you study baseball you appreciate what a great talent he was. In a ten year stretch from 1964 to 1973 he batted .300 or better seven times and was never lower than .289. He also won three batting titles in that span and five seasons with 90+ RBI. A great outfielder with speed and power, it has been well documented how knee injuries shortened his career. I think he should be in the Hall of Fame; too bad we can only imagine what he might have been. However, Tony O gave the Twins great years and has stayed with the club to this day giving us the gift of his great personality and style. Tony Pedro Oliva, put him in the Hall of Fame.

    These are personal choices for me and Iím sure everyone has different opinions for their top four Twins; Iíd love to hear them. I know my 7-year-old son would pick Joe Mauer, Joe Mauer, Joe Mauer and Joe Mauer. I thought about doing a list of honorable mentions, but I would rather hear other people's ideas.

    Originally posted at http://iowatwinsfan.com/my-twins-mt-rushmore/


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    Comments 41 Comments
    1. Twins Daily Admin's Avatar
      Twins Daily Admin -
      How much more does Mauer need to do to crack this list?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Killer, Carew, Puck should all be locks. Fourth spot is open for some debate but I'd pick Mauer.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Killer, Carew, Puck should all be locks. Fourth spot is open for some debate but I'd pick Mauer.
      I agree with this... Those top three are obvious. The next level is Oliva, Hrbek and Mauer... and Mauer is another future Hall of Famer, so I'd go with him.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      no pitchers?
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      If you make this out of bobbleheads you could fit in more people.
    1. BigTrane's Avatar
      BigTrane -
      The tough thing is only 4... and I agree with Brandon wholeheartedly. Go figure!

      I'd say Carew and Oliva were similar-type players, so you might have to make a tough choice there. I'd go with Sir Rodney. Opens up a spot for a pitcher, and I'm partial to a guy named Walter. Otherwise, Kitty Kaat comes to mind, Mudcat, Bert, Sweet Music, Reardon, Radke (?) Johan, The Gambler (just checkin'), Eddie (?), Rick Reed (checkin' again), Nathan...

      With the All-Star game coming, I think you're ahead of the curve... I expect all-time Sens/Twins lists to start popping up around then- hope so, anyway.
      With a full roster to play with, you'd have a chance to really flesh things out... 25 or 40-man rosters... could be fun.

      Sam Rice!
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I agree with this... Those top three are obvious. The next level is Oliva, Hrbek and Mauer... and Mauer is another future Hall of Famer, so I'd go with him.
      Yep. Mauer HAS to be on this list. He has a slightly higher WAR than Oliva in 4-5 less seasons. He played catcher and did it at a high level. Their adjusted OPS+ is almost identical (133 to 135).

      It's unfortunate that Oliva's career was derailed by injury but Mauer is the better player, period.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      no pitchers?
      If Blyleven played most of his career here, then I'd say him. And if we had a better connection to our Senators past, I'd say Walter Johnson. But we don't. Still, Kaat, Santana, Radke and Blyleven could all be considered for that fourth spot but I'd put Mauer ahead of them.
    1. ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
      ChiTownTwinsFan -
      If you were choosing your 'Mt. Rushmore' right now, I think he has it right. I think you choose past greats for Mt. Rushmore now. Not current or future greats. When Mauer retires and is elected into the Hall, then you chisel out Mauer over Oliva.
    1. strumdatjag's Avatar
      strumdatjag -
      The positive Rushmore is easy, except for choosing between Mauer and Oliva.

      Now the tough question, the Anti-Rushmore Four, using any combination of generally bad playing, uniquely bad playing, bad results for team (gave up a great player in trade), bad attitude and longevity as criteria. My four would include an easy first three: Terry Felton, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Ron Davis (good guy but too many blown saves). The fourth one is tough. Despite his limited tenure, I'd choose Tommy Herr, who was poison in the clubhouse (handing out photographs of aborted fetuses and other unwanted preachiness), and was traded for Tom Brunansky, who had been a productive and loyal player for the team. I'm sure there are may other worthy ex-Twins to put on the Anti-Rushmore (Matt Capps, Hosken Powell and Willie Norwood, Pat Mahomes, and even Dave Engel who batted well but couldn't throw the ball back to the pitcher).
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      Hard to take Carew down, but if we are giving priority to guys who devoted their whole careers here (or 99.9% of their career), then Tony O would come first. Also on the other thread we discussed TK. I think TK deserves to be up there with Harmon and Puck (and Mauer eventually) for all the things he's done for this organization both before and after he was manager.
    1. strumdatjag's Avatar
      strumdatjag -
      Back to my Anti-Rushmore (the four worst Twins), I note that I don't put Hosken, Bombo nor Disco on the face of that Mount of Shame. Hosken has a shot, and Disco had his peculiarities, but Bombo wasn't really that bad of a player and, in my opinion, only is derided because of his unusual name. Willie Norwood? That's another thing! Again, Terry Felton, Nishi, Ron Davis and Tommy Herr are the ones I'd put up on the Mount of Shame.
    1. drock2190's Avatar
      drock2190 -
      I don't think Mauer belongs yet. I mean, have we really decided on a nickname?
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      Quote Originally Posted by drock2190 View Post
      I don't think Mauer belongs yet. I mean, have we really decided on a nickname?
      "Walk a mile in my cleats."
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      Quote Originally Posted by strumdatjag View Post
      Back to my Anti-Rushmore (the four worst Twins), I note that I don't put Hosken, Bombo nor Disco on the face of that Mount of Shame. Hosken has a shot, and Disco had his peculiarities, but Bombo wasn't really that bad of a player and, in my opinion, only is derided because of his unusual name. Willie Norwood? That's another thing! Again, Terry Felton, Nishi, Ron Davis and Tommy Herr are the ones I'd put up on the Mount of Shame.
      I will give you Nishi, Ron Davis, and Tommy Herr (I call him "Tommy" because he and I go way back), but yes please save a place for a 1978 outfielder
    1. Dbohnk's Avatar
      Dbohnk -
      I am assuming you are excluding players from the Washington Senator days because otherwise Walter Johnson would almost certainly be a lock as well.
    1. Dbohnk's Avatar
      Dbohnk -
      For the Anti-Rushmore Twins how about some players who were so bad they didn't last the season like Sidney Ponson, Ramon Ortiz, Livan Hernandez, Mike Lamb, or even Rondell White who did attempted two seasons with the Twins.
    1. SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
      SgtSchmidt11 -
      Quote Originally Posted by drock2190 View Post
      I don't think Mauer belongs yet. I mean, have we really decided on a nickname?
      http://gardynickname.com/

      According to this it's Mauersy, which is good enough for me...
    1. TKGuy's Avatar
      TKGuy -
      I'll never forget the series where Fred Lynn kept hitting HRs game after game.

      Ray Milker would be the MGR, who got replaced by some geeky looking guy I'd never heard of
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Anti-Rushmore? Well, this skews toward the current but Delmon Young, Liriano, Tommy Herr and Kevin Slowey (my least favorite Twin ever).
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