StaTuesday: Cuddyer carved out a niche with Twins

Michael Cuddyer won’t be the most decorated member of the Twins Hall of Fame when he’s inducted Saturday following a ceremony at Target Field.

He didn’t give Harmon Killebrew or Tony Oliva much of a run for their records during his 15-year major-league career.

But Cuddyer carved out his own niche in Twins history anyway.

He’s one of just three players to hit for the cycle in both the American League and the National League, joining Bob Watson of the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, as well as John Olerud of the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners.

John Reilly — a 19th-century first baseman — hit for the cycle in two leagues, first as a member of the American Association’s Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1883, and again in 1890, after the team had moved to the National League.

He’s also one of just eight players to hit for the cycle in interleague play.

Cuddyer is closely associated with the successful Twins teams of the mid-aughts, a group that won the American League Central six times in nine years.

Year Wins Losses Division
2001 85 77 2nd
2002 94 67 1st
2003 90 72 1st
2004 92 70 1st
2005 83 79 3rd
2006 96 66 1st
2007 79 83 3rd
2008 88 75 2nd
2009 87 76 1st
2010 94 68 1st
2011 63 99 5th

From 2001-11, Cuddyer trailed only first baseman Justin Morneau — whose prime coincided with Cuddyer’s best years in Minnesota — and Torii Hunter in home runs.

Player G PA HR R 2B 3B RBI BA OBP SLG
Justin Morneau 1017 4237 185 550 231 14 709 .281 .353 .499
Torii Hunter 993 4095 178 576 227 17 630 .272 .326 .484
Michael Cuddyer 1139 4555 141 606 239 35 580 .272 .343 .451
Jason Kubel 753 2846 104 334 142 13 429 .271 .335 .459
Jacque Jones 727 2887 104 372 139 8 356 .277 .328 .453
Joe Mauer 918 3911 84 545 216 16 502 .323 .403 .471
Corey Koskie 542 2275 80 315 127 9 312 .272 .367 .470
Matt LeCroy 381 1269 53 123 55 1 192 .274 .335 .461
Delmon Young 497 1977 47 233 106 7 273 .287 .324 .429
Doug Mientkiewicz 514 2082 41 238 124 3 228 .283 .375 .425

But his versatility wasn’t limited to the batter’s box.

Cuddyer did just about everything during his 11-year career with the Twins, appearing at every position but catcher and shortstop.

He pitched one inning for the Twins, allowing two hits and a walk during a 20-6 loss to the Texas Rangers in 2011, also the year of his lone All-Star appearance while in Minnesota.

He also does card tricks.

Seriously.

His moves are so convincing that MLB.com once trotted him out as a street performer during his three-year stint with the Colorado Rockies.

Here he is putting on over on former Twins outfielder Denard Span.

Nowadays, Cuddyer is one of nine Twins alums dubbed “special assistants” to the front office, a title he shares with Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins, Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek, Tom Kelly, Jack Morris and Tony Oliva.