Best Players in Minnesota Twins History – The 1970’s
After seeing a good amount of success in the 1960's the Twins did not have such luck in the 1970's. After losing in the ALCS in 1970, the Twins did not reach the playoffs again for a long time, and finished at or below .500 five out of the next nine seasons. Their best season after 1970 came in 1975 when they finished 85-77, with their worst season coming in 1978 when they went 73-89.
The only Hall of Famer on the list, Rod Carew was the best player for the Twins during the 1970's by a wide margin. Carew, a member of the 3000 hits club, hit .334/.393/.448/.841 during his 12 seasons in the Cities, as he was essentially a given 170 hits, 20 plus doubles and an average over .300 ever year and during that time he hit 305 doubles, plus 90 triples to go along with his 271 stolen bases.
Carew, the Panama native, won Rookie of the Year in 1967 at the age of 21, and top that in 1977 at the age of 31, when he won MVP. During his MVP campaign, Carew led the league in average at .381, on-base percentage at .449, OPS at 1.019, OPS+ at 178, runs with 128, hits with 239 and triples with 16. All the while, Carew hit 38 doubles, 14 home runs, drove in 100 runs for the only time in his career, and stole 23 bases.
Carew was named an all-star all 12 seasons as a Twin, he was elected to 18 in total, and finished with MVP votes eight times, with top ten finishes five straight years from 1973-1978.
Carew was elected to the Hall of Fame as a Twin in 1991.
Bert Blyleven who elected into the Hall of Fame in 2011 is one of the most interesting borderline hall of fame cases to make it to Cooperstown and comes in at number two on this list.
Although he never reached the 300 win plateau, Blyleven got into the Hall of Fame based on a long career with multiple, several, high level seasons, though none of which resulte din a Cy Young Award.
Blyleven played for five teams, and it all started and nearly ended with the Twins. Blyleven played his first six and half seasons with the Twins, before he was traded to the Angels during the 1976 season.
During that six year span Blyleven was the Twins best and most consistent pitcher on a staff that saw changes over that span.
Blyleven had a record of 95-85, and ERA of 2.78, a WHIP of 1.129, a FIP of an even better 2. 63, while striking out 1327 and only walking 403 in 1611.1 innings. Blyleven had 97 complete games and also threw 24 shutouts, finishing in the top ten three out of six years.
In 1973, Blyleven had his best season with the Twins as he went 20-17 completing 25 games with nine being shutouts, as he threw 325 innings for the season. Blyleven struck out 258 batters that season while leading the league in ERA+, FIP and K/BB ratio. '73 was also one of four times he garnered Cy Young votes during his entire career, finishing seventh, and being named to one of two All-Star teams.
At this point in our list we get to the players who were good players in their own right but at the same time they were no where near the level of a Carew or Blyleven and also are representative of the poor records of the era.
Hisle started all over the outfield for the Twins during his five years on the team, playing games in left, center, and right in ever season in a Twins uniform.
Hisle was a power hitter for the Twins hitting 87 home runs over those five years with 109 doubles.
Hisle had a slash line of .286/.354/.457/.811. Hisle also was able to steal bases over those five years with nearly 20 per season with 91 total.
Hisle's best two years came in 1977 and 1978. In 1978 Hisle had his career high in home runs with 32 but 1977 was his best season in his career. Hisle hit .302/.369/.533/.902 with his lone 20/20 season hitting 28 home runs, with 21 stolen bases. Hisle led the league in RBI with 119, and hit 36 doubles, worthy for a twelfth place MVP finish and they following year he finished third in MVP voting and over those two season was named to his two All-Star teams.
Goltz is the second pitcher on this list as he was an integral part of the Twins staff during six of his eight years with the team. Starting in 1974, Goltz became a full-time member of the Twins starting rotation and would be for the rest of his time with them.
Over those six years Goltz averaged 240 innings, and 14 wins per year. He had an era over that period of 3.40, with 131 strikeouts per season, 13 complete games, and two shutouts per season.
Goltz best season came in 1977 when he went 20-11, with a 3.36 ERA in a league leading 39 starts. Goltz through 19 complete games and 2 shutouts in his 303 innings, striking out 186 batters with an ERA+ of 119, a FIP of 3.42, and a WHIP of 1.238. The '77 season was the only time he placed in the Cy Young voting finishing sixth as he was the ace of the staff with the departure of Blyleven at midseason the previous year.
The final member of this list is the first catcher to be listed in the first three parts of this series.
Wynegar only spent seven full years with the team, and only four in the 70s, but he had his best years and was one of the most important members of the Twins during those seasons.
As the primary catcher at the age of 20, Wynegar posted seasons of over 135 games in all of his seasons with the Twins, and was able to provide offensive production at a defense first position. Wynegar didn't strike out much with a low of 36 strikeouts in 79 and 80, and got on base at a good rate of .340 with hitting .254.
Wynegar's best season came in his first two when he was named to the All-Star game each season, and came in second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1976.
In those two seasons, Wynegar had slash lines of .260/.356/.363/.719 and .261/.344/.370/.715 while hitting 10 home runs each year, driving in 69 and 79 runs, hitting 21 and 22 doubles and walking 79 and 68 times.
Next time the 1980's will be looked at and will be started with the pride of Triton College, and Calumet City High School.