Major League Baseball announced the Franchise Four for each of its teams Tuesday and Minnesota Twins connections popped up in several places.
MLB allowed fans to vote for the the four greatest players in the history of each franchise.
Former Twins greats Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Tony Olivia and Kirby Puckett were named as Minnesota's Franchise Four.
Killebrew is the Twins' all-time home run leader with 573. He came to Minnesota in 1961, when the franchise moved to Minneapolis from Washington D.C. Killebrew was such an instrumental figure in the organization and state, Minnesota's Congressional delegation is lobbying the United States Postal Service to create a postage stamp in his honor.
He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.
Oliva spent his entire 15-year career in a Twins uniform. The eight-time All-Star finished his career with 1,917 hits while batting .304. Oliva also hit 220 home runs, but he is not in the Hall of Fame. Recent efforts to get him into the hall through the Veterans Committee have come up short.
Over 19 seasons, Carew hit .328 and amassed 3,053 career hits with the Twins and Angels. In 1977 Carew had 239 hits while hitting .388 and posting a .449 on base percentage. That season Carew also drove in 100 runs, scored 128 more and stole 23 bases. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
It would be hard to imagine the Twins Franchise Four without Puckett. He was the heart-and-soul of a team that won two World Series titles in 1987 and '91. With the Twins up against the wall in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series Puckett made an unforgettable catch up against the plexiglass in left field. Then for an encore he hit the game-winning home run in the 11th inning.
Puckett had 2,304 hits in his 12-year Major League career. It was cut short in 1996 by glaucoma. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Other Minnesotans on Franchise Four teams
Dave Winfield – was named one of the Franchise Four for the San Diego Padres, with whom he started his big league career. Winfield is a St. Paul native who went straight from the University of Minnesota to San Diego, without stopping in the minor leagues. He returned to Minnesota near the end of his career, recording his 3,000th career hit in a Twins uniform.
Paul Molitor – was named one of the Milwaukee Brewers Franchise Four. Also a St. Paul native and U of M alum, Molitor spent the majority of his career in the Brewers organization, but returned to Minnesota in 1996 to finish his playing career with the Twins. Like Winfield, Molitor also recorded his 3,000th career hit in a Twins uniform.
Molitor is in his first season managing the Twins.