Here is why and how I filled out my All-Metrodome team ballot:
First Base: Justin Morneau
This is the hardest position to choose. It is known and widely assumed that Morneau will put up better career numbers than Kent Hrbek, but that is not what this is about. I think Hrbek will win the position because he is a Minnesotan who was on the 2 World Series teams and somehow has his jersey retired despite no possibility of going to the Hall of the Fame. I chose Morneau because while Hrbek was a key component on his teams, Morneau is a better hitter and fielder and has 1 MVP and could have easily won a 2nd. Runners-up: Kent Hrbek and Gene Larkin
Second Base: Chuck Knoblauch
Became a joke at the end of his career but he was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1991 and was a multiple All-Star as a Twin. He also lacks any real competition at the position with utility player Runners-up: Al Newman and Steve Lombardozzi.
Shortstop: Greg Gagne
This is a no-brainer decision. Was on both World Series teams. While he lacks outstanding statistics as a .254 career hitter with little power he win based on longevity and lack of competition. Runners-up: Cristian Guzman and Pat Mears.
Third Base: Gary Gaetti
Won 4 Gold Gloves as a Twin and hit over 30 home runs in '86 and '87. Was a crucial player in the 1987 World Series team. Runners-up: Scott Leius and Corey Koskie
Catcher: Joe Mauer
The Golden Boy should easily win this position. Already at such a young age has two batting titles and one Gold Glove. He will also benefit that neither World Series team had an outstanding catcher and Pierzynski is currently hated by Twins fans. Runners-up: Tim Laudner and A.J Pierzynski.
Outfielders: Kirby Puckett, Torii Hunter, and Tom Brunansky
It is kind of surprising on how easy it is to pick the outfield. Puckett and Hunter are locks for their defense and being the face of the team for many years. The only debate is Gladden or Tom Burnansky. Burnansky had the much better career but Gladden might get some votes just on the memory of him scoring the winning run in the '91 Series and his role as the team's radio announcer. Runners-up: Dan Gladden, Shane Mack and Matt Lawton
Designated Hitter: Chili Davis
This position is kind of a joke and it should really be filled by the loser of the Hrbek - Morneau race. I don't think Davis will win the position with home-town players Molitor and Winfield on the list but this isn't who is the best player but who was the best as a Twin and Molitor and Winfield were in the twilight of their careers on terrible teams. David Ortiz also turned into a good player but that was in Boston not here. Davis was only on the team for 2 years but played a very vital role on the '91 team hitting .277-29-93. Runners-up: Paul Molitor and David Ortiz
Starters: Frank Viola, Johan Santana, and Bert Blyleven
This is a very hard position to only choose 3 players. Viola and Santana are locks with 3 Cy Youngs between them. Then it gets hard to pick one out of Blyleven, Brad Radke, Kevin Tapani and Jack Morris. Morris was only here one year but it was one hell of a year, Radke was the face of many terrible Twins teams and also some of the early success in the 2000's, Kevin Tapani was the best pitcher in '91. I went with Blyleven despite that his best years with the Twins were at the Met the first time around. He helped win the '87 title and he is the best pitcher overall (it is a travesty he is not in the Hall of Fame) and I really enjoy him as the Twins Color Commentator. Runners-up: Brad Radke and Kevin Tapani
Relievers: Rick Aguilera and Joe Nathan
Rick Aguilera is a lock as the stud closer from 1989 to 1999 with 3 All-Star appearances and twice had over 40 saves. Joe Nathan is more debatable. Jeff Reardon was a great closer for the '87 team but was only here for 3 seasons. Guardado was a good closer on the early 2000 teams but was never overwhelming. Joe Nathan gets the nod because he is one of the most dominating closers in the game today. In 6 years he has made 3 All-Star appearances and 203 saves. Runners-up: Jeff Reardon and Eddie Guardado.
Manager: Tom Kelly
If anyone does not vote for Tom Kelly they should have the rest of their ballot voided. He won 2 World Series and led the team for 16 of the 27 seasons at the Metrodome. Runner-up: Ron Gardenhire.
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