In the next installment of this ranking of the 10 greatest players ever to come out of Virginia, we go to #8.
#10 1B George McQuinn (Arlington)
#9 SS Gene Alley (Richmond)
#8 OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake)
A Twins 1st round pick in the 1997 draft, Cuddyer made his major league debut in the closing days of the 2001 season. After excelling in 2002 at Triple-A, he was called back up to the bigs and even made the postseason roster, proceeding to hit over .300 in playoff action against Oakland and Anaheim. He would stay in the big leagues for good in 2004 and went on to hit .272 with 141 HR and 580 RBIs in 1139 games with the Twins over a stretch of 11 seasons, and made the AL all-star team in his final season in Minnesota. On August 23, 2009, Cuddyer became the 53rd player in history to hit 2 HR in one inning.
After 2011, Cuddyer headed west to the Rocky Mountain State, signing a three year deal with the Colorado Rockies. He hit .260 with 16 HR and 58 RBIs in his first season in Denver, but it was 2013 that became the season never to forget for Cuddyer. He batted .331 to take home the NL batting title, hit 20 HR, drove in 84 runs, made the all-star team for the second time, and took home the Silver Slugger Award. (The other two OFers who won the SS that year were repeat winners from 2012, but Cuddyer’s stellar season managed to unseat Ryan Braun’s 5-year grip on the award-that and Braun’s steroids troubles!)