Where Are They Now? – Michael Cuddyer

Posted: April 29, 2012 by Crackin' Wax in 2012, Minnesota Twins, Where Are They Now?
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Michael Cuddyer

I can’t think of a more recent Twins departure that saddened me more or caught me more off guard. While it was not written in stone that Cuddy would return to the Twins in 2012, it certainly was heartbreaking for this fan to learn that Michael “The Magician” was leaving.

A first round draft pick by the Twins in 1997, 9th overall, Cuddyer impressed often in his short time in the Minors. His productive tenure on the farm prompted his first call-up which came in late September of 2001 in a game against the Indians. Cuddy served as DH and smacked a lead-off double in the 7th to log career base hit #1. Manning First Base on October 2 2001, he laced another double–this time plating his first ribbie. Then on July 20 2002 in just his 6th game of that season and 14th of his career, he pounded his first career home run–a three-run blast off of Detroit Tigers’ Jamie Walker.

While with the Twins, Michael earned his first All-Star appearance as a Manager’s pick and the Twins’ lone representative in the 2011 contest. To this date, Cuddyer is the last Twin to have hit for the cycle, accomplishing that feat on May 22 2009 against the Brewers. He also pulled off an achievement that only 52 others in the Majors had done before by hitting two home runs in the same inning. Cuddy also became the first Twins position player in over 20 years to take the hill in a game, tossing a scoreless frame against the Rangers on July 25 2011.

Just ten days after the birth of his twin girls, Michael signed on with the Colorado Rockies for three years and $31.5 million. It came as a surprise to many Twins fans who were certain that the Pohlads were working to keep Cuddy in the family. Upon his move to his new team, Cuddyer also switched his jersey number from 5 to 3 in honor of Twins great Harmon Killebrew.

In his short time as a Rockie, Michael has quickly become a fan favorite in Colorado and has come through in clutch situations on multiple occasions. At this point, he has slapped two home runs, has driven in 12, has a batting average of .301 in 78 plate appearances and leads the team with 38 total bases.

Cuddy was one of the last great heroes from the Twins’ amazing 2002-2006 teams in which they won the AL Central crown four times. He was one of the most beloved fan favorites in Twins Territory and, although he represents another team in another league, he still is. Much like Torii Hunter, he was a true leader for the Twins, both on and off the field. From his generosity with his work with charitable foundations to his approachable and humble demeanor with the media (something seemingly becoming more and more rare) and from his hard work ethic to his willingness to do whatever it took to win, it seemed as if Cuddy could do anything. Now he’s taken his talents elsewhere and, by the looks of things, that’s the only thing that’s changed. I, for one, wish him the very best and can’t wait to see him back in Twins Territory one more time!

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