Best Twins players, by uniform number

December 1st, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- All of the roster chaos created by the pandemic-impacted 2020 season had one interesting side effect: unusual uniform numbers became more prevalent around the Majors as clubs dug deep into their depth to call up players who, in many cases, had those "extra" numbers assigned to them in Spring Training.

In fact, baseball finally saw every jersey number from 0 to 99 worn in an MLB game when the Yankees assigned No. 89 to Miguel Yajure on Aug. 20. The Twins narrowly missed being part of history, as Minnesota right-hander Edwar Colina was one month too late to become the first player in MLB history to wear No. 86.

With all that in mind, let's take a look at the best player to wear each jersey number in Twins history. For the most part, only each player's primary jersey number with the Twins was considered. (For example, Brian Dozier briefly wore No. 20, but he was best known for wearing No. 2 for Minnesota.)

0: Junior Ortiz -- The only No. 0 in club history, Ortiz was the last man on the bench when Gene Larkin hit a walk-off single in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

1: Eric Soderholm -- Soderholm had more offensive success for the White Sox, but he had a .725 OPS in five seasons with the Twins.

2: Brian Dozier -- Zoilo Versalles won an MVP Award, but Dozier has had the better career and is one of three Twins hitters to eclipse 40 homers in a season.

3: Harmon Killebrew -- Killebrew, the club's all-time leader in games played (2,329), homers (559) and RBIs (1,540), is the only player to wear No. 3 for the Twins, as it was retired after he finished his career.

4: Paul Molitor -- Molitor was a Hall of Famer, St. Paul native, member of the 3,000-hit club and American League Manager of the Year Award winner while wearing No. 4 -- mostly for the Brewers, but also for the Twins.

5: Michael Cuddyer -- The amateur magician and fan favorite hit double-digit homers seven times with the Twins and later won a National League batting title with the Rockies.

6: Tony Oliva -- Perhaps Oliva, who started his career by leading the AL in hits during five of his first seven full seasons, will finally earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2021. Oliva's No. 6 is now retired by the Twins.

7: Joe Mauer -- The No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft and hometown hero is the club's all-time leader in doubles (428) and is the only AL catcher to win a batting title (he won three). Mauer's No. 7 is now retired by the Twins.

8: Gary Gaetti -- The four-time Gold Glove winner at third base anchored the position, and he hit 31 homers in 1987, when the club brought home its first World Series championship.

9: Larry Hisle -- Hisle hit double-digit homers in all five of his seasons with the Twins, topping out at 28 in 1977, and he posted an .811 OPS for Minnesota.

10: Earl Battey -- The catcher hit 91 homers and was a two-time top-10 finisher in AL MVP Award voting while with the Twins, helping them win the club's first AL pennant in 1965.

11: Chuck Knoblauch -- He won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 1991, and he was an integral part of the World Series-winning club that season. Knoblauch ranks among the club's top 10 in batting average (.304), runs (713), hits (1,197), triples (51) and stolen bases (276).

12: Brian Harper -- Harper was a solid-hitting catcher who clubbed 10 homers with a .783 OPS as part of the Twins' World Series-winning squad in 1991.

13: Rich Reese -- Fun fact: Reese shares the MLB record for most career pinch-hit grand slams (three) with Ben Broussard, Willie McCovey and Ron Northey.

14: Kent Hrbek -- He grew up in the shadow of Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn., and he played there for a season before the Twins moved to the Metrodome, where he anchored first base for both World Series-winning teams in 1987 and '91. Hrbek's No. 14 is now retired by the Twins.

15: Glen Perkins -- The local kid took some time to find his groove, but his move to the bullpen consolidated his career and made him a three-time All-Star closer.

16: Frank Viola -- He was the ace of the World Series-winning '87 playoff rotation and won the AL Cy Young Award a year later.

17: Camilo Pascual -- He relocated to the Upper Midwest with the franchise and was a seven-time All-Star, leading the AL in strikeouts in each of his first three seasons in Minnesota.

18: Eddie Guardado -- "Everday Eddie" ranks fourth in club history in saves (116) and is the Twins' all-time leader in pitching appearances by a wide margin, with 648 games in 12 seasons.

19: Scott Erickson -- Erickson finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting in 1991, when he helped pitch the team to a World Series title, and he later threw a no-hitter in '94.

20: Eddie Rosario -- He hit a homer in his first career plate appearance, as he became a fan favorite through his first six seasons and 119 home runs for the Twins.

21: Eric Milton -- The lefty was a rotation mainstay for five seasons and threw the fourth no-hitter in Twins history on Sept. 11, 1999.

22: Brad Radke -- The lifelong Twins pitcher made nine Opening Day starts and emptied the tank over 12 seasons in Minnesota, ranking him second to Jim Kaat in games started in club history (377).

23: Nelson Cruz -- It was only two-plus seasons, but Cruz led the club in homers and OPS in both 2019 and '20, posted a pair of top-10 AL MVP Award finishes and is one of three Twins players with a 40-plus-homer season.

24: Tom Brunansky -- The future Minnesota hitting coach cranked 163 homers in seven seasons as a Twins player and won the World Series in 1987.

25: Jim Thome -- Thome did most of his damage with the Indians, White Sox and Phillies, but he hit his 600th career homer as a member of the Twins.

26: Max Kepler -- Only seven years into his MLB career, Kepler has already set the record for most homers in a season by a European-born player (36 in 2019).

27: David Ortiz -- The one that got away. (Much to the appreciation of Red Sox fans.)

28: Bert Blyleven -- Long before he was circling fans with his telestrator, he was twirling hitters into circles with the curveball that earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame. Blyleven's No. 28 is now retired by the Twins.

29: Rod Carew -- One of the greatest pure hitters in MLB history, the 18-time All-Star and seven-time batting champion made a run at .400 in his legendary 1977 season (finishing at .388). Carew's No. 29 is now retired by the Twins.

30: Dave Goltz -- The Rothsay native was the first Minnesota-born player to be drafted by the Twins and debut in the Majors with the team.

31: Jim Perry -- Perry won the 1970 AL Cy Young Award before his brother, Gaylord, won the '72 and '78 Cy Young Awards, making them the only siblings to both win the honor.

32: Dave Winfield -- The St. Paul Central High School graduate did most of his damage for the Padres and Yankees, but he joined the 3,000-hit club as a member of his hometown team.

33: Justin Morneau -- The fan-favorite 2006 AL MVP Award winner and future Twins television analyst played 11 years in Minnesota before winning a batting title with the Rockies. He entered the Twins Hall of Fame in 2021.

34: Kirby Puckett -- The heart and soul of two World Series-winning teams, Puckett won six Gold Gloves and led the AL in hits four times en route to the Hall of Fame. Puckett's No. 34 is now retired by the Twins.

35: Graig Nettles -- He reached double digits in homers 17 times during his 22-year career. Unfortunately for the Twins, all of them came after they traded him away.

36: Jim Kaat -- Kaat pitched in 25 seasons, two shy of the MLB record shared by Nolan Ryan and Cap Anson.

37: Kenny Rogers -- Let's call this a career achievement award. Rogers was solid, but not spectacular in one season for the Twins. However, he enjoyed a 20-year MLB career.

38: Rick Aguilera -- Technically speaking, Steve Carlton is the Twins' all-time best No. 38, but he played only 13 games in Minnesota, so this goes to Aguilera, who's more than deserving in his own right by ranking second in club history in saves (254).

39: Juan Rincón -- Let's take a moment to recognize Rincón's run from 2004-05, one of the more underrated two-year reliever stretches in club history, as part of an eight-year tenure out of Minnesota's bullpen.

40: Bartolo Colón -- "Big Sexy" is another one of those "not a great Twin, but had a great career" guys.

41: Jeff Reardon -- The longtime Expos player made it to Minnesota just in time to win the 1987 World Series.

42: Michael Jackson -- Even though the number was retired throughout MLB in 1997 to honor Jackie Robinson, Jackson wore the number as late as '02, when he had a 3.27 ERA out of Minnesota's bullpen.

43: Addison Reed -- Reed's baseball days ended with injury in Minnesota, but he enjoyed a solid eight-year career and pitched in the 2015 World Series with the Mets.

44: Chili Davis -- Davis is one of four MLB players who were born in Jamaica, and he hit 29 homers as the primary designated hitter on the 1991 World Series championship team.

45: Terry Mulholland -- Mulholland bounced around between 11 teams in his 20-year career and played for Minnesota for two seasons after his 40th birthday.

46: Bob Wells -- He pitched in 414 career games, and 265 of them came with the Twins from 1999-2002.

47: Jack Morris -- He's a St. Paul native who threw 10 scoreless innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Need we say more?

48: Torii Hunter -- At the 2002 All-Star Game, Barry Bonds got a firsthand glimpse of the show-stopping catches in center field that became a regular treat in Hunter's first 12 MLB seasons in the Twin Cities.

49: Kyle Lohse -- Lohse was part of the Twins' AL Central three-peat from 2002-04, but he found the majority of his success after leaving Minnesota.

50: Matt Lawton -- He got hit twice in the head after losing balls in the Metrodome roof, but Lawton was also quite a good hitter, posting an .808 OPS in seven seasons with the Twins.

51: Carl Willis -- Willis made a big first impression in Minnesota with a 2.63 ERA as part of the 1991 World Series championship team, and he pitched seven innings in that Fall Classic.

52: Carlos Silva -- In 2005, Silva threw 188 1/3 innings in 27 starts and walked only nine batters. In his two complete games that season, he had pitch counts of 91 and 74.

53: Mark Guthrie -- The lefty threw four innings in the 1991 World Series and enjoyed a 15-year career, including seven in Minnesota.

54: Sergio Romo -- The fun-loving, bearded veteran treated Target Field to "El Mechón" toward the end of an outstanding career that included winning three World Series championships in San Francisco.

55: Taylor Rogers -- Rogers has done enough as a strong-to-elite reliever over six seasons to earn the nod over Paul Sorrento and Mike Redmond. Plus, he's an actual twin.

56: Fernando Rodney -- The aging-but-reliable reliever was still shooting plenty of arrows in 2018, when he posted a 3.09 ERA for the Twins in 46 games during his age-41 season.

57: Johan Santana -- One of the most dominant aces in his prime, it will take a long time before another Twins pitcher will match Santana's three-year peak from 2004-06, when he led the AL in strikeouts in all three years, won a Major League triple crown ('06) and claimed two Cy Young Awards ('04 and '06).

58: Héctor Carrasco -- Carrasco pitched out of the Twins' bullpen for parts of four seasons and eventually netted Lew Ford in a trade with the Red Sox.

59: Kevin Slowey -- Slowey climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with R.A. Dickey after he completed a five-year stint in Minnesota's starting rotation.

60: Jon Rauch -- The 6-foot-11 Rauch is the tallest player in MLB history.

61: Liván Hernández -- Hernández took over as Opening Day starter following Santana's departure to New York, starting a run of eight different Opening Day starters in nine years for Minnesota.

62: Liam Hendriks -- The Aussie has progressed a long way from his days as an ineffective Twins starter to his status as one of the best closers in the game.

63: Andrew Albers -- He made 10 starts for Minnesota in 2013, hasn't pitched that many MLB games in a season since and spent '20 in Japan. He returned to Minnesota in 2021 and pitched in five games.

64: Willians Astudillo -- Catcher/pitcher/center fielder extraordinaire.

65: Trevor May -- He plays video games with some of the most famous streamers on the planet, knows his way around the New York sandwich scene and still finds a way to throw 99 mph.

66: Hector Santiago -- This could eventually belong to Jorge Alcala, but Santiago's nine-year MLB career wins out for now.

67: Alan Busenitz -- Kepler briefly wore No. 67 in his first taste of the Majors, but right-handed reliever Busenitz is the only Twins player to have worn the number full-time.

68: Randy Dobnak -- Dobnak is a former Uber driver with impressive facial hair and glasses who had to briefly leave the team to get married in the middle of the 2019 postseason chase -- during which he was an important contributor -- because he didn't think he'd get promoted to MLB all the way from Class A Advanced in a year.

71: Joe Roa -- Multiple online sources claim that his nickname was "The Roa Constrictor."

72: Caleb Thielbar -- Thielbar returned to the Twins after a four-year absence from the Majors encompassing independent ball, success in the Minors and a brief decision to retire and take a college coaching job.

74: Ronald Torreyes -- Torreyes' seven-game Twins career was highlighted by a 12th-inning, bases-loaded, walk-off hit by pitch against the White Sox on Sept. 17, 2019.

76: Alex Kirilloff -- Kirilloff made his MLB regular-season debut in 2021 (he officially debuted in the 2020 AL Wild Card Series), but the only other option is Félix Jorge, who had a 10.57 ERA in two career games.

77: Tony Batista -- Batista's best days as a slugger were behind him when he signed a one-year deal ahead of the 2006 season, as he then clubbed five homers in 50 games.

80: Ryan Eades -- Eades became the first player in MLB history to wear No. 80 when he took the mound for Minnesota in two games in 2019.

86: Edwar Colina -- Colina missed out on becoming the first player to wear No. 86 in MLB history by just more than a month.

99: Logan Morrison -- The selection of No. 99 was a decisive variation from a rather traditional career uniform path for Morrison, who has otherwise worn 5, 7, 8, 20 and 21 as a big leaguer.