Two-time All-Star, 2013 National League Batting Champion, and current Twins Special Assistant Michael Cuddyer was born on March 27, 1979 in Norfolk, VA.
The Twins drafted Cuddy in the first round (9th overall) in 1997 out of high school. He made his major league debut on September 23, 2001 at age 22 in a 4-2 loss to Cleveland at the Metrodome. He walked in his first at-bat, struck out, and doubled, all off five-time All-Star Chuck Finley.
On September 21, 2005, Cuddyer went 4-for-4 with three doubles, a home run, four RBI, and two runs scored in a 10-4 Twins win in Oakland, tying the team single-game record of four extra-hits established by César Tovar on May 21, 1967, and matched by Kirby Puckett in 1987 and ’89, Rich Becker in 1996, and Corey Koskie in 2001.
Cuddyer hit eight grand slams in his career—five with the Twins (including his second career home run), and three with the Rockies. He hit two grand slams in a four-day span on June 7 and June 10, 2006.
He homered leading off the second for the Twins’ only run of the game in Texas on August 19, 2007 as Johan Santana struck out a team record 17 in just eight innings. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth, saving a 1-0 win.
Cuddyer hit for the tenth and most recent cycle in Twins history in an 11-3 win over Milwaukee at the Metrodome on May 22, 2009. The first nine cycles were hit by Rod Carew (1970), César Tovar (‘72), Larry Hisle (‘76), Lyman Bostock (‘76), Mike Cubbage (‘78), Gary Ward (‘80), Kirby Puckett (‘86), Carlos Gómez (‘08), and Jason Kubel (April 17, 2009). Cuddyer hit for a second cycle playing with the Rockies on August 17, 2014, becoming one of just three players to hit for the cycle in both the American and National League. The other two were Bob Watson and John Olerud. Remarkably, Olerud hit just 13 triples during his 17-year major league career.
Cuddyer became the only player in Twins history to homer twice in the same inning on August 23, 2009 in Kansas City. The game was tied 1-1 when Cuddyer led off the seventh with a homer. Delmon Young, Denard Span, and Orlando Cabrera combined to drive in five more runs before Cuddyer came up again, this time with Joe Mauer on first, and homered for the second time in the inning. The third place Twins would go on to win 10-3. Every game truly mattered in 2009, as the Twins finished the 162-game schedule in a tie with Detroit. We all know what happened next.
Cuddyer collected the first regular season RBI in Target Field history, singling home Denard Span in the first inning on April 12, 2010.
Cuddyer, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Frank Quilici, Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau, Ron Gardenhire, and Paul Molitor served as pallbearers at Harmon Killebrew‘s funeral on May 20, 2011 in Arizona.
Cuddyer hit an 0-2 double off the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner as part of eight-straight hits to start the game on June 21, 2011, tying the major league record. Bumgarner struck out Twins pitcher Carl Pavano on three pitches for his first and only out of the inning. He was pulled after Ben Revere doubled for his second hit of the inning, giving the Twins a 8-0 lead.
On July 25, 2011, Cuddyer became the first Twins position player to pitch since John Moses in 1990. After professional pitchers had given up 20 runs to the Rangers, Cuddyer pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Cuddyer signed with the Rockies prior to the 2012 season. He won the National League batting title with a .331 average in 2013. Former Twins teammate Justin Morneau joined Cuddyer in Colorado for the 2014 season, and won the NL batting crown with a .319 average.
Michael Cuddyer was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on August 19, 2007, the day before former general manager Andy MacPhail.