10 players you forgot were once Twins

December 1st, 2021

Fans around Twins Territory won't soon forget that before David Ortiz attained full Big Papi status, he spent the first six years of his career in Minnesota (he was released following the 2002 campaign). Fourteen seasons, 483 homers, 10 All-Star teams and seven Silver Slugger Awards later, Ortiz will eventually enter the Hall of Fame as a member of the Red Sox.

While the less-heralded Minnesota careers of Ortiz and others like Jim Thome remain fresh in the memories of Twins fans, other onetime Twins might not be so easy to remember. So today, we're taking a look at 10 notable players you might have forgotten played for the Twins.

Graig Nettles, 1967-69
The third baseman spent the most decorated portion of his 22-year career with the Yankees, where he had eight 20-homer seasons, was named to five All-Star teams and won a pair of World Series championships. But before he became one of the game's more highly regarded defenders at the hot corner, he was primarily an outfielder for the Twins in the first three seasons of his career. He hit 12 of his 390 career homers for Minnesota before he was traded to Cleveland, where he took over at third base and broke out with 26 homers.

Luis Tiant, 1970
Tiant began his 19-year career with six seasons in Cleveland and was named to the Red Sox Hall of Fame for his eight years with Boston. In the middle, he spent one season with the Twins. Two years removed from an ERA title with Cleveland in 1968, Tiant had a 3.40 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) for the Twins and was sidelined for part of the '70 season with a fractured scapula. He appeared in relief in the American League Championship Series against the Orioles, allowing two runs (one earned) in two-thirds of an inning.

Steve Carlton, 1987-88
Of the Hall of Famer's 329 career wins, only one came in a Twins uniform, and it was his very last. In July 1987, the 42-year-old former Triple Crown winner and four-time Cy Young Award winner was traded from Cleveland to Minnesota. He went 1-5 with a 6.70 ERA in nine appearances, including six starts. Though the Twins went on to win their first World Series championship since the franchise moved to Minnesota, Carlton was left off the postseason roster. He had a 16.76 ERA in four appearances a year later before he was released.

Jesse Orosco, 2003
Orosco was drafted by the Twins in 1978 before he was dealt to the Mets organization and played a key bullpen role in their 1986 World Series run, during which he won three games in the National League Championship Series and saved two games -- including Game 7 -- in the World Series against the Red Sox. With his best days behind him, Orosco appeared with the Padres and Yankees in 2003 before finishing his 24-year career with eight relief appearances for the Twins, allowing three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings at age 46.

Kenny Rogers, 2003
Rogers played in Texas for 12 of his 20 seasons and earned 133 of his 219 wins -- including the 14th perfect game in MLB history. Between his three stints with Texas, he sprinkled in time with the Yankees, A's, Mets and Twins, winning 13 games in Minnesota as a 38-year-old in 2003. He was named an AL All-Star and won Gold Glove Awards in each of the next three seasons with the Rangers and Tigers.

Livan Hernandez, 2008
The 178-game winner didn't just start 23 games for the Twins in 2008 -- he was the Opening Day starter after Johan Santana was traded to the Mets in the offseason. He had a 5.48 ERA through 23 starts before he was designated for assignment at the end of July and eventually claimed off waivers by the Rockies. The 1997 World Series MVP played for four more teams before finishing his 17-year career in '12 with 1,976 strikeouts.

, 2009
Before Dickey found his greatest success as a knuckleballer with the Mets and Blue Jays, including an NL Cy Young Award in 2012, he spent one season with the Twins as a reliever. He appeared in 35 games for Minnesota, including only one start, and had a 4.62 ERA in 64 1/3 innings. He carried a 2.83 ERA through 27 appearances into early July but gave up three earned runs in five of his next eight outings and was sent to Triple-A Rochester to finish the season.

Orlando Cabrera, 2009
Those turn-of-the-decade Minnesota teams were a haven for Twins cameos, including , Orlando Hudson, Brian Fuentes and a few others. Cabrera, who tallied 2,055 career hits in 15 seasons and was part of the curse-breaking 2004 Red Sox, was one of those transient Twins in 2009. He was acquired from Oakland at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and hit .289/.313/.430 in 59 games with five homers -- none bigger than his go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning of the AL Central tiebreaker against the Tigers, which the Twins went on to win in 12 innings.

, 2010
Eventually one of the premier catchers in the game, Ramos was once a top prospect for the Twins, but he was blocked for playing time by . Ramos played seven games in a Minnesota uniform before he was traded to the Nationals for closer Matt Capps, who posted a 2.00 ERA and 16 saves for the eventual division-champion Twins. Ramos dealt with injuries for several seasons with the Nationals before earning his first All-Star nod and Silver Slugger Award in 2016.

, 2017
The Twins signed a 44-year-old Colon to a Minor League deal in July 2017 after he was released by the Braves. He made his Minnesota debut less than two weeks later and went 5-6 with a 5.18 ERA in 15 starts through the end of the season. The Twins were the 10th franchise with which he appeared in his career, and he didn't stay long, moving on to the Rangers for the '18 season.