As of Monday morning, Hall of Fame writer Bob Elliot of the Canadian Baseball Network reported via Twitter that former MLB first basemen Justin Morneau will return to the Minnesota Twins as their special assistant. Morneau has not officially retired, but told Sportsnet.ca that he was thinking of calling it quits in late October. Morneau has spent 11 seasons with the Twins, and a combined three seasons playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies, and Chicago White Sox.
Ex-Twin Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC) now a special assistant with the Twins. 247 career homers, .281 AVG in 14 years, .828 OPS @Twins
— bob elliott (@elliottbaseball) January 9, 2018
Justin Morneau to be Twins Special Assistant
The 36-year-old Canadian spent 14 seasons in the Majors, He’s recorded a career .281/.348/.481 slash line, with 1603 hits, 247 HR, and 985 RBI.
He won an MVP during his tenure with the Twins in 2006, when he slashed .321/.375/.559, with 34 HR and 134 RBI, and he seemed ready to wrap up his second MVP award in 2010 before he suffered multiple concussions and was limited to 86 games that season; still, he earned an All-Star appearance.
Morneau then went on to represent Team Canada in all four of the World Baseball Classics. He won a batting title in 2014, while playing for the Rockies. In July of that season, Morneau returned to Target Field for the Home Run Derby, where he was cheered by the Twins faithful.
In 2008 at Yankee Stadium, Morneau beat out Josh Hamilton for the Home Run Derby crown in the last year of old Yankee Stadium. Morneau was a four-time All-Star and a three-time winner of the Bob Allison award.
Morneau was traded over to the Pirates at the August 31 trading deadline in 2013, in order for Morneau to stay eligible for the postseason. He was traded to Pittsburgh in exchange for Alex Presley and Kris Johnson. Morneau’s six-year, $70 million contract, which he signed in 2007, was expiring at the end of the 2013 season.
Morneau homered off of then Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish in his final at-bat as a Twin at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Morneau delivered the game-winning blast in that contest and reached 221 career home runs with the Twins. Only Harmon Killebrew and Kent Hrbek went deep more times than Morneau.
Morneau was drafted out of New Westminster High School in British Columbia. He was drafted in the third round of the 1999 draft. Morneau was originally drafted as a catcher, but then made the permanent transition to first base and has played the corner infield position since.
The Twins have hired other franchise greats; Michael Cuddyer and Torii Hunter are special assistants of baseball operations for Minnesota. Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Jack Morris, and Bert Blyleven, and managers Tom Kelly, Tony Oliva, and Hrbek have all been hired as special assistants for the Minnesota Twins.