Former Twins Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield are elected to the Hall of Fame, both on their first ballot. Winfield appeared on 84.47% of ballots (435 of 512). Puckett appeared on 82.14% of ballots (423). They were inducted in Cooperstown on August 5 alongside Veterans Committee selections Bill Mazeroski and Negro League pitcher Hilton Smith, who, following his legendary Kansas City Monarchs career, played semi-pro ball in Fulda, MN in 1949.
It was the fourth time that former teammates were elected by the writers in the same year. The previous occurrences were Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane (1947), Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford (1974), and Carlton Fisk and Tony Perez (2000). Subsequent occurrences are Gary Carter and Eddie Murray (2002), Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux (2014), and Craig Biggio and Randy Johnson (2015). Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were elected by the Veterans Committee (not the writers) in 2018.
Winfield was the first of three Hall of Famers to graduate from St. Paul high schools over a six-year span. Each played briefly for the Twins. Winfield graduated from St. Paul Central in 1969, Jack Morris from Highland Park in 1973, and Paul Molitor from Cretin in ‘74. Winfield and Molitor both played at the University of Minnesota.
Nine former Twins players have been elected to the Hall of Fame, six on their first ballot: Rod Carew (1991), Steve Carlton (1994), Winfield and Puckett (2001), Paul Molitor (2004), and Jim Thome (2018). Harmon Killebrew was elected his fourth ballot in 1984, Bert Blyleven on his 14th ballot in 2011, and Jack Morris by the Veterans Committee in 2018.
Kirby Puckett is the only Hall of Famer to play his entire career with the Twins. Carew, Killebrew, and Blyleven played more games with the Twins than any other team.