Friday Fungoes: Favorites

I suppose some may quibble with this statement, but I think the Twins have been fairly judicious when it comes to retiring player numbers. Four of the six are Hall of Famers who spent all or significant portions of their career in a Twins uniform, and the other two are franchise players who, while not Hall of Famers, had great careers and have tremendous resonance among fans.

If you ask most Twins fans who their favorite all-time Twins player is, you'd probably stand to receive more answers with a name represented by one of the numbers above than any other name. While that's all well and good, I think the more interesting answers are the unexpected players who get mentioned. With that in mind, who is your favorite Twin of all time who is not honored with a retired number? If your answer would be a recent player, who is your favorite Twin who hasn't played for the team in the last decade?

Mine is the guy in this photo.

29 thoughts on “Friday Fungoes: Favorites”

  1. I would not be opposed to the Twins retiring Radke's number. He stuck with them through the bad years, declined more money elsewhere, then helped lead the team out of the 90's funk. Plus, by all accounts he appears to be a great team player and a decent guy.

    But he played in the last decade. If I had to pick another player, I'd probably go with Bob Allison.

    1. I'm going to have to ditto this. The next (and only) two numbers the Twins should retire are numbers 22 and 7.

      1. The next (and only) two numbers the Twins should retire are numbers 22 and 7.

        twenty two isn't thirty three.

    2. Radke's comments to the press towards the end of his career were generally pretty great, too. (Can't say much about his early career, unfortunately.) I remember one time, I think it was after a game in KC, where he specifically drew attention to Jason Bartlett's good fielding behind him, even though at the time we heard just about only negative things about Bartlett's fielding in the press.

      1. I agree that I wish his final numbers were better. But if more players were to just shut up and go do their jobs, well, I'd be happier. And he was the epitome of playing through the pain (by necessity), and not hiding the fact that he was injured until a later date when it could be used as an excuse.

      1. Back in 1987, I once described Frank Viola that very same way. I also happened to be a big, tall rangy left hander, so some of my college buddies referred to me as bigtallrangy for quite a while.

    1. Gaetti was Pops Hayes' favorite Twin for a long time in the post-Killebrew era. It didn't register when I was a kid, but now that I'm older than Pops was back then it makes sense - he and G-Man were basically the same age. This is strange to me because I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favorite on the team now - I'm just not connected to the game in the same way. I suspect, though, that many sports-inclined Minnesota males Pops' age (like a number of Citizens here) latched onto a player who became part of the core of that '87 team in part because they were roughly in the same age cohort (Gladden b. 1957; Gaetti, Bush, and Laudner b. 1958; Hrbek, Puckett, Viola, Bruno, Newman, and Lombo b. 1960, Gagne b. 1961; etc).

  2. As most of my youth was consumed by lousy Twins teams watched on radio, I have a hard time identifying a favorite outside the retired numbers. I liked Eric Soderholm a lot, and would have been a huge Lyman Bostock fan but for. I was on the Butch Wynegar train, until he got Griffith'd too.

    I'll go with Dave Goltz for pre-Success, Bruno for the glory years.

  3. I really liked Sal Butera, recognizing that he obviously doesn't deserve to have his number retired. I'd be in favor of retiring Drew Butera's number, as long as he doesn't get to wear another one.

    1. I like this idea. It can serve as a warning to what happens when you gut your farm system of decent catching prospects.

  4. From my childhood years I always liked Jim Kaat and later Larry Hisle. One of my favorites from the WS years was Shane Mack.

  5. Growing up, my favorite non-Puckett player was Pedro Muñoz. I couldn't really explain why, but there's my answer.

  6. I would say my favorite past Twin, non-Puckett, non-Hrbek division was probably Shane Mack, although if Brad Radke counts, then him.

  7. Am I going to get lynched if I say Knoblauch? On the '91 team I also really liked Mike Pagliarulo for some reason.

    1. When he was a Twin, he had no bigger fan than me.

      When he betrayed the Twins and went to the Yankees... he was dead to me.

      I will no longer wear number 11, for it is tainted with his foulness.

      1. See, I get that he didn't want to play here any more, but there's lots of guys who didn't want to play here any more. I don't really see getting traded to the Yankees as a "betrayal", any more than signing with the Angels, or the Rangers, or the Rockies, or leveraging a trade to the Mets, or getting traded to the Red Sox to open up a spot for a hotshot Canadian, or all kinds of other departures are "betrayals". So I'd imagine there's lots of guys who are dead to you.

        1. It's all water under the bridge for me now, but what spoiled it for me was that he signed a long-term contract to play for the Twins and almost immediately started demanding a trade. If he'd simply played out his contract, become a free agent, and gone somewhere else, I wouldn't have had much problem with it. He wanted to have it both ways--to have both the security of a long-term contract and the freedom to play wherever he wanted--and that annoyed me. It annoyed me even more that the Twins allowed him to get away with it. If I was running a team and a player with a long-term contract demanded a trade, I'd say, "Tough. You're under contract here, and here is where you're going to play unless you retire." Which is one of the many reasons I could never run a team.

Comments are closed.