Tuesday, March 11, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST #117 KENT HRBEK


HRBIE WAS A DECEPTIVELY GOOD PLAYER.



AVERAGED 21 HOMERS DURING HIS CAREER.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Born in Bloomington, Minn., first baseman Kent Hrbek starred exclusively for the hometown Twins and served as mascot/slugger for 14 years and two World Series titles. Hrbek hit 293 homers and was a middle-of-the-order presence during the 1987 and '91 world championship clubs. Roly-poly but surprisingly nimble around the bag, Hrbek seemed to embrace being a hometown hero.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • The Twins led the Cardinals 6-5 in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the '87 World Series on Oct. 24. Trailing in the series 3-2, Hrbek guaranteed a seventh game by hitting a grand slam off Ricky Horton en route to an 11-5 victory.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Hrbek's near-MVP season in '84 kept the surprising Twins in the hunt for the AL West title. He hit 27 home runs, drove in a career-high 107 runs and had a slash line of .311/.383/.522. Minnesota was 81-81 but finished only two games back of the Royals for the division.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Hrbek was taken in the 17th round by the Twins in the '78 draft.
  2. Finished second to another hometown hero, #96 Cal Ripken Jr., for '82 AL Rookie of the Year, hitting 23 homers, driving in 92 and hitting .301.
  3. Edged for AL MVP in '84 by Tigers closer Willie Hernandez, who also won the Cy Young.
  4. It was Hrbek's defense that might have saved the Twins in Game 7 of the '91 World Series. The Braves loaded the bases in the eighth with no score and one out when Sid Bream hit a grounder to Hrbek, who began a 3-2-3 double play to end the threat.
  5. Hrbek retired after the players strike in '95 and hit .270 with 10 homers and 53 RBI in his final season in '94.

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