Since I never saw Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Tony Oliva play, here is my Post-1991 All-Time Minnesota Twins Team!
LF—Shannon Stewart: He hit over .300 in 2 of his 4 seasons with the Twins, saved the 2003 season, and is pretty much the only true leadoff hitter the franchise has had since Dan Gladden.
2B—Chuck Knoblauch: One of the most underrated players in franchise history based on fans’ bitterness of him departing to New York and the fact he couldn’t throw the ball to first base after. That being said, he was a 4-time All-Star who hit .333 in ’95 and .341 in ’96. Also won a Gold Glove in ’97.
RF—Kirby Puckett: I think most kids my age would consider him their favorite athlete of all-time. Don’t need to defend this selection.
1B—Justin Morneau: Won an MVP in ’06 and was on the verge of another in 2010 before the concussion in Toronto.
CF—Torii Hunter: 7 Gold Gloves and 192 home runs. And he robbed Barry Bonds of a homerun at the All-Star game.
C—Joe Mauer: 3 Batting Titles from a Catcher is basically unheard of. 6 All-Star Games, 3 Golden Gloves. Would’ve been mentioned among the greatest Catchers to ever play the position concussions not derailed his career.
DH—Michael Cuddyer: Was a bit of an enigma early in his Twins’ career but was an overall consistent, productive hitter and transformed his game defensively as his career went along.
3B—Corey Koskie: The Twins have not been blessed with Third Basemen since Gary Gaetti, but Koskie was the best of the best and unfortunately is another Twin who was affected by concussions.
SS—Pat Meares: You could argue Christian Guzman or even Jason Bartlett here but I always liked the consistency of Meares. You knew what you were going to get.
BENCH—AJ Pierzynski: I’ll never understand the hatred from Twins fans on AJ. He was a .300 hitter for the Twins, competed hard, and was fetched the greatest return the Twins have ever received in a trade while opening up more playing time for Joe Mauer.
BENCH—Brian Dozier: Received MVP votes 3 straight years, won a Gold Glove, hits for Power and is a good leader.
BENCH—Ron Coomer: Coom-Dog was basically a cinch to hit .275, hit 15 home runs and gives me 3B/1B/DH flexibility.
BENCH—Jacque Jones: You could make arguments for Jason Kubel, Marty Cordova, Denard Span, Matt Lawton and even Eddie Rosario here but I loved the way Jacques Jones played. Always hit for average with some pop in his bat and was a better outfielder than many listed above.
SP1—Johan Santana: By far the best pitcher the team has had since Frank Viola and Jack Morris.
SP2—Ervin Santana: Between suspensions and injuries, we haven’t seen a whole lot of him, but statistically he’s the 2nd best Twins Starter during this time frame.
SP3—Brad Radke: 12 years for one franchise is a heck of a run.
SP4—Francisco Liriano: Maybe the biggest tease in Twins history. His 2006 season before he got hurt was one of the best pitching runs I’ve seen.
SP5—Carl Pavano: His 17-win, 3.75 ERA 2010 season puts him into this rotation.
RP1—Joe Nathan: Franchise-best 260 saves.
RP2—Glen Perkins: for a 3-year stretch, he was of the best closers in baseball.
RP3—Rick Aguilera: 3 straight All-Star Games and a great beard.
RP4—Latroy Hawkins: Transformed from a disaster as a starter to a stud as a reliever.
RP5—Eddie Guardado: Anyone whose nickname is “Everyday” is alright in my books. 86 saves combined in ’02-’03 and 2 All-Star Games.
RP6—Matt Guerrier: The best 7th and 8th inning set up guy the Twins have had during this time frame.
RP7—Mike Trombley: One of the few bright spots on the ’96-’99 Twins teams.
HONORABLE MENTION: Christian Guzman, Jason Bartlett, Doug Mientkiewicz, Marty Cordova, Jason Kubel, Eddie Rosario, Denard Span, Matt Lawton, Miguel Sano, Kevin Tapani, Scott Baker