The background: The Twins suffered through eight straight losing seasons from 1993 through 2000, five of those ending with 91-plus losses, including the final four.

 

Key players: Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, Corey Koskie, Doug Mientkiewicz, Cristian Guzman, A.J. Pierzynski and Brad Radke helped turn losers into winners, and Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Johan Santana took it to another level after that.

 

Breakthrough: The Twins broke the streak of eight straight losing seasons in 2001. They went 85-77 that season, after which longtime manager Tom Kelly, who had been at the helm since 1986, stepped aside, confident the team was back on track.

 

The end result: The Twins won a division title in 2002 in Ron Gardenhire’s first season as manager, starting a stretch that included six division titles in nine seasons. But the Twins won a playoff series only once, in 2002, when they lost to the Angels in the AL Championship Series.