MINNEAPOLIS -- Two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana is the latest addition to the Twins Hall of Fame. The left-hander was elected in his first season eligible, as announced during the annual media luncheon at Target Field on Friday.
Santana, who at his peak has a case as the best pitcher in Minnesota Twins history, was elected as part of the player ballot voted on by the media, front-office personnel, fans and members of the Twins Hall of Fame. He's the 31st member of the organization's Hall of Fame and will be honored in a pregame ceremony at Target Field on Aug. 4.
"It's a great honor," Santana said in a conference call. "I started with nothing. Everything I was able to accomplish was because of the Minnesota Twins and the opportunity they gave me in the beginning of my Major League career. It's unbelievable and an honor for me and my family."
• Twins Hall of Fame
Hall of Famer Rod Carew broke the news to Santana that he was elected, although it took some maneuvering by the Twins to make it work. The call came the same day members of the front office, including president Dave St. Peter, traveled to Puerto Rico for a news conference for their series against the Indians in San Juan in mid-April.
"As someone who had a chance to listen in, I can tell you it was a very special phone call," St. Peter said. "It's a great honor for Johan, who is looking for a greater connection with the Twins where his career really blossomed."
Santana, memorably acquired in the Rule 5 Draft from the Astros as part of a trade with the Marlins, developed into an ace for the Twins with the help of his incredible disappearing changeup. At his height of his run with the Twins from 2003-07, he went 82-35 with a 2.92 ERA and 1,152 strikeouts in 1,070 2/3 innings.
Santana won AL Cy Young Awards in 2004 and '06, finished seventh in '03, third in '05 and fifth in '07. He was also an All-Star with the Twins from 2005-07 and won his lone Gold Glove Award in '07. He won the pitching triple crown in '06, leading the AL in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He said his favorite memory was setting Minnesota's franchise record with 17 strikeouts against the Rangers in '07, but that he didn't take any day in the Majors for granted.
"Every day was special," Santana said. "There were a few games people remember, like the 17 strikeouts. That one was very special to me."
Santana was traded by the Twins after the 2007 season, pitching four years with the Mets with a top three finish in National League Cy Young balloting in '08 and his final All-Star appearance in '09. He also threw the first no-hitter in Mets history in '12. Injuries derailed his career, but he said he hasn't fully ruled out a return, although he's currently not throwing.
"I'm not officially retired," Santana said. "I was still thinking about trying to come back, but unfortunately things haven't worked out the way I would love them to. Only time will tell."
Santana, 38, is likely to rejoin the Twins as a special assistant and Spring Training instructor, as he makes his home in Fort Myers, Fla., where the Twins hold Spring Training.
"I'd be more than happy to, but I don't know what the future holds for me," Santana said. "I'd like to be part of it and be able to help out."