StaTuesday: Morneau among Twins’ top sluggers


A week after taking a job in the Minnesota Twins’ front office, Justin Morneau is officially hanging ’em up.

Morneau nearly called it quits in 2012, two years after colliding with the knee of Toronto Blue Jays infielder John McDonald while sliding into second base. The blow caused concussion symptoms that cost Morneau the rest of the 2010 season and limited him to 69 games in 2011.

Those symptoms derailed what could have been a Hall of Fame-caliber career, but Morneau’s place in Twins history isn’t up for debate.

Morneau trails only fellow first baseman Kent Hrbek and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew for the Twins’ career home run record. He hit 221 home runs over the course of his 10-year Twins career, one more than Hall of Famer Rod Carew.

Harmon Killebrew47519396593104717132322113251321.260.383.518.901
Kent Hrbek293174761929031749312181086838.282.367.481.848
Justin Morneau22112784749669131828916860501.278.347.485.832
Tony Oliva22016766301870191732948947448.304.353.476.830
Torii Hunter21413735013739134328126792354.268.321.462.783
Bob Allison2111236392664899916741642641.254.361.479.840
Kirby Puckett2071783724410712304414571085450.318.360.477.837
Gary Gaetti20113614989646127625225758358.256.307.437.744
Tom Brunansky163916331345082915413469394.250.330.452.782
Brian Dozier151851333252883418119439356.250.327.452.779
Michael Cuddyer14111394072606110623935580411.272.343.451.794
Joe Mauer13717316444954198640129875888.308.391.443.834
Jacque Jones132976349249297418915476231.279.327.455.782
Roy Smalley11011483997551104618421485549.262.350.401.750
Jason Kubel105798271534672914814442269.269.334.449.783

Morneau hit the tie-breaker on Aug. 31, 2013, during his second-to-last at-bat with the Twins, going yard off Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish to help Minnesota to a win. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates later that day.

His numbers are among the best in Twins history across the board. Morneau ranks eighth all-time in hits (1,318), sixth in doubles (289), 10th in RBI (860) and fourth in slugging percentage (.485).

Drafted by the Twins in 1999, Morneau was seemingly a perfect fit for the State of Hockey: He split his time between baseball and hockey before graduating from secondary school, converting from catcher to first base in 2001. His number, 33, was selected in honor of fellow goaltender Patrick Roy.

He won the American League MVP award in 2006 after batting .321/.375/.559 with 34 home runs, hitting 30-plus home runs in 2007 and 2009, before the concussion issue reared its head.

Morneau enjoyed a brief resurgence with the Colorado Rockies in 2014, winning the National League batting title after hitting a career-high .319 with 17 home runs. He suffered another concussion a year later, before attempting a brief comeback with the Chicago White Sox in 2016.

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