Souhan: Morneau can tip his cap to Twins fans; too bad others can't, too

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 11, 2014 - 6:40 AM

Guys like Puck and Killer will be missed in the coming days.

hide

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau waved to the Metrodome crowd after receiving his American League MVP award on the field prior to Friday night's game. At left is Harmon Killebrew, a previous Twins MVP.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Jm - Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Justin Morneau never played in a playoff game at Target Field, and he spent his last 3½ seasons as a Twin trying to overcome the concussion that interrupted his reign as one of baseball’s best hitters.

The celebrity marriage of Target Field’s inviting right field wall and Morneau’s powerful swing was annulled by a knee to the head in July 2010. If he had avoided injury, Morneau would have become a candidate for a statue outside the ballpark’s limestone walls.

On Thursday, Morneau lost an opportunity to play for the National League All-Stars at Target Field, but was added to the Home Run Derby. It’s a half-measure that is better than none.

The prodigious son returns, in an appearance that, for Minnesotans, could trump Derek Jeter playing in his last All-Star Game.

Morneau should be here. That is the way All-Star Games are supposed to work. They are supposed to conjure emotions. They are supposed to place Tony Gwynn and Ted Williams near the Fenway Park mound as all of Boston stands and cheers, and they are supposed to allow Cal Ripken to shift from shortstop to third base before the first pitch of his last appearance.

Glen Perkins will play in an All-Star Game in his home state. Jeter will tip his cap in Minnesota for the last time. Morneau will say hello again, a season after being robbed of the chance to say goodbye.

If this were a perfect world, there are a few other former Twins who would toe the foul line, or at least shake a few hands, on Tuesday.

Kirby Puckett should be here.

The most popular Twin ever woke up blind in his right eye on March 28, 1996. He never played again. He died less than 10 years later after suffering a stroke.

Before being stricken with glaucoma, Puckett had for the first time undertaken an offseason conditioning program. He was a great player in his prime who expressed his determination to extend his effectiveness, and his career. In one game that spring, he lined a single off of Greg Maddux, then called him “Picasso” from the basepaths.

Puckett reveled in the company of other great players. At Hall of Fame gatherings in Cooperstown, he would even sing a pitch-perfect version of “It’s a Wonderful World,” bringing down the house. His voice will be missed next week.

Harmon Killebrew should be here.

The Killer passed in 2011. People who work at the Hall of Fame described him as one of the two nicest Hall of Famers they had ever encountered, along with Brooks Robinson.

He became a gentle soul and a willing storyteller. He should be here advising the participants in the Home Run Derby how to hit one onto First Avenue.

A.J. Pierzynski should be here.

He drove the Twins crazy while becoming one of their most important players. He drove the Giants crazy, and they dumped him. He drove the White Sox crazy even as he helped them win a title. He drove the Red Sox so crazy they dumped him this week.

I believe the DH should be a part of the game, and Pierzynski is an All-Star Designated Heckler.

Torii Hunter should be here.

Hunter always wanted to play on a grass field in Minnesota. He’s having a reasonably productive season for a 38-year-old outfielder, although his statistics are nowhere near All-Star caliber this season.

Who cares?

All-Star Games are stages, and Hunter remains the Twins’ best showman of the past 18 years.

The perpetually flawed system of selecting All-Stars has given us rosters featuring Ricky Bones, Cesar Izturis and Mike Williams, faux stars all.

Based on his contributions to the Twins, his status as one of the game’s most eager ambassadors, and his longstanding excellence, Hunter should be here on Tuesday, standing along the first-base line, nodding toward Morneau.

 

Jim Souhan can been heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10-noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Detroit1000400106152
Minnesota «06000923X20203
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:R.Pressly(2-0) L:R.Ray(1-4)
HR: DET- I.Kinsler (12) MIN- T.Plouffe (10), E.Escobar (4), D.Santana (6), O.Arcia (14)

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami 13 Bottom 9th Inning
Colorado 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Oakland 4
NY Mets 1 Top 8th Inning
Los Angeles 5
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 0 3rd Qtr 2:44
Seattle 31
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close