Tagged: Minnesota Twins

Cuddyer headed to Twins version of Cooperstown

Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake) played 11 of his 15 years in the major leagues in the Twin-Cities after being drafted in the first round by Minnesota in 1997. He was a part of 5 AL Central title championships and batted .272 in 1100+ games with 141 HRs and a .343 OB% and a .794 OPS. He was also known for numerous offensive rarities. He would go on to play 3 years in Colorado and 1 year with the Mets before retiring to spend more time with his wife and kids.

Now, the Twins will honor this franchise great for all he gave to the Twins. Cuddyer has been selected to the Twins Hall of Fame and will be so honored in August.



9/11 Twist of Fate: Cuddyer prevents a teammate from getting on doomed flight


As the world just finished remembering the tragedy of Sept 11, 2001, numerous stories of twists of fate are out there involving people who could have been on one of the doomed flights. Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane was supposed to be on AA 11, but was given the wrong departure time by his travel agent. Actor Mark Wahlberg changed his plans a week before, otherwise he was supposed to be on one of the flights.

And then there is the story of former ML outfielder Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake), who was in the minor leagues in 2001, and how his late inning heroics prevented a teammate from being on AA 11.

Cuddyer announces his retirement


He rose from the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and put together a solid major league career, spanning 15 years, with the Twins, Rockies, and Mets. He was a batting champion and a Silver Slugger. He had numerous other individual accomplishments that very few major leaguers have ever done. He got to play for one season with childhood friend David Wright (Chesapeake).

Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake) has announced his retirement from baseball, walking away from the last season of his 2-yr contract with the Mets.


In this ongoing series where I pick an all-time roster of Virginia-born ballplayers, we look at the 2nd OF spot.

Joining Michael Cuddyer in the starting OF of TEAM VIRGINIA-The Covington Crusher, Covington-native Jim Lemon.

Lemon played for 4 teams over the course of his career, but is probably best known for his exploits with the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins. During his run with them, (1954-1962), he played in 915 of his 1010 major league games, and hit 159 of his 164 career homers to go with 509 of his 529 career RBIs. He was in the Top 10 in the league in HRs four times and in EBH twice. He also hit a league-leading 11 triples in 1956, and was a 1960 AL All-star.

Lemon was inducted into the Virginia Sports HOF in 1988.

Jim Lemon passed away from cancer at his home in Mississippi on May 14, 2006.


Back from a hiatus, and now we continue this look at picking an all-time Team Virginia, a roster of players, past and present, who have come from our state.

This installment, we name one of the 3 starting outfielders.

The first spot will go to Chesapeake-native Michael Cuddyer.

Cuddyer, the second active MLer to make the team, has been in the major leagues now for 15 seasons. He spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Minnesota Twins, and had an impressive resume. Over the course of his career playing in the Twin Cities, he batted .242 with 141 HRs and 580 RBIs. He also had some flashes of brilliance on defense, leading all AL RFs in assists-twice-and finishing among the league leaders in other key defensive categories.

On May 22, 2009, Cuddyer hit for the cycle in a game against the Brewers. Just 3 months later, on August 23, he hit 2 HRs in the 7th inning of a game against the Royals, becoming the 53rd player ever to accomplish that feat.

Cuddyer left Minnesota after the 2011 season (his first all-star game), and signed on with the Colorado Rockies. While it could have been the climate in Denver, it takes nothing away from the great run he had over 3 seasons playing in the Mile High City. he hit .307 with 46 HRs and 173 RBIs. Arguable his best season of his career came in 2013. Cuddyer was named to his 2nd all-star game, took home the NL batting title (.331) and was named a Silver Slugger. Contributing to his batting crown was a club-record 27-game hitting streak.

On August 27, 2014, Cuddyer hit for the cycle again, the 30th player ever to do so twice and third to do it in both leagues.

Cuddyer left Colorado after 2014 and came closer to home, signing a 2-yr deal with the Mets, jumping at the chance to try and help a rising Mets team win a title and play with fellow Hampton Roads native David Wright.

His debut season was marred by injuries, and he looks to bounce back in 2016 and help bring a title to Queens.

All time Greatest from VA….#7

#10 1B George McQuinn (Arlington)
#9 SS Gene Alley (Richmond)
#8 OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake)

#7 OF Jim Lemon (Covington)

Nicknamed the “Covington Crusher”, Lemon had his greatest success with the original Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins, hitting 159 HR and driving in 509 runs during his 10 years with that franchise. He combined with Roy Sievers in DC and with Bob Allison and Harmon Killebrew in Minnesota to form the greatest power hitting group the franchise ever saw. He was a two time all-star. He was in the Top 10 in the league in HR 4 times, in RBIs 3 times, total bases three times, and XBH twice. He went on to coach with the 1965 pennant winning Twins and in 1968 spent one season as manager of the new Washington Senators. He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

Jim Lemon died of cancer at his home in Mississippi in 2006.

All Time greatest from VA….#8

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!)