Gagne inducted into Twins' Hall of Fame
Steady shortstop played key role on '87, '91 Series champs
MINNEAPOLIS -- Former Twins manager Tom Kelly vividly remembers the players who got most of the recognition during his team's two World Series championships, with much of the attention being placed on the club's stars such as Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek.But Kelly certainly knew the impact of other players on those teams, including one of only seven players to take part in both championships, shortstop Greg Gagne. "The special thing about Greg is that he probably got lost in the shuffle," Kelly said. "Hrbek, Puckett, Gary Gaetti -- those fellas got most of the acknowledgments and recognition while Greg flew under the radar. But I know in the clubhouse, he was not under the radar." Gagne may have flown under the radar for much of his career, but the spotlight was focused directly on him Saturday afternoon. He became the 22nd member of the Twins' Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony before the contest against the Rangers. "It was a great honor to play here in Minnesota for a number of years," said Gagne during a ceremony behind home plate at Target Field. "I thank you, all the wonderful fans here. And I also want to thank the whole Twins organization, my teammates, our managers and coaches from the Minor Leagues all the way through the big leagues." The shortstop on the Twins' 1987 and '91 World Series championship teams, Gagne's career with the Twins spanned 10 years from 1983-92. He had a .249 batting average with 69 home runs, 335 RBIs and 452 runs scored during his time in Minnesota. But his contributions had more to do with his glove than with his bat. Gagne appeared in 1,140 games for the Twins and posted a .980 career fielding percentage. "Never made a mistake," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was the third-base coach during Gagne's final two years in Minnesota. "I don't ever remember him missing a ball or throwing one away. He always caught the balls he was supposed to catch and always got them out. He had great range, could really run the bases, very deceptive, and just solid. You never worried about him. He just made the plays." Many of the other Twins Hall of Fame members were on hand for Saturday's ceremony, which took place as part of a weekend-long celebration for the club's 50th season in Minnesota. Among those gathered were Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and some of Gagne's former teammates including Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti and Bert Blyleven. A video tribute ran on the big screen after all the Hall of Fame members were introduced, featuring many of Gagne's great plays from his tenure with the Twins. Kelly then gave a brief speech talking about Gagne's impact on the team -- including in those World Series championships. Gagne did not commit an error in 37 total chances during the seven-game series with the Braves in the 1991 Fall Classic. Gagne also had an impact with his bat in that series, belting a three-run homer in the fifth inning of Game 1 off Braves starter Charlie Leibrandt to lead the Twins to a 5-2 victory. "His speed, it was so much fun to watch him run," Kelly said. "From first to home, I put him up with just about any baseball player during his time when he was in the big leagues. And home runs, every time he hit one it seemed to be at an important part of the game. It was always a meaningful home run and one that made an impact for the ballclub." Gagne capped off his induction by throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. The shortstop, who wore No. 7 throughout his career in Minnesota, threw the pitch to the team's current No. 7, catcher Joe Mauer.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.