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Kent Hrbek

From Academic Kids

Kent Hrbek (born May 21, 1960 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) was a US-American baseball player. The left-hander batter played fourteen seasons for the Minnesota Twins at first base. Fans knew him as an outstanding defensive player at his position and a perennial slugger, as well as being charismatic and often chewing bubble gum.

Hrbek had his Major League debut in 1982 and was immediately selected as an All-Star. After batting .301 with 23 homeruns and 92 RBIs, Hrbek finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year vote, behind Cal Ripken, Jr.

Some of his most memorable moments were during the 1987 season. He hit a career best 34 homeruns to help the Twins win the AL West. He was also instrumental in capturing the World Series Championship, as he hit a Grand Slam in game six.

In 1991 he again helped the Twins to win the World Series. This was especially memorable as the Twins finished the previous season in last place. Fans may remember him best, however, from his altercation with Ron Gant in Game 2, when it appeared that Hrbek had pulled Gant off the bag as Gant was returning to first base without a slide. The umpire called Gant out, citing forward progress would have caused Gant to step off the bag, even though most spectators claimed Hrbek's move was deliberate. When the Series moved to Atlanta, Braves fans jeered him excessively, and Hrbek received much hate mail, including a death threat.

Hrbek's offensive turned stale after his homerun in Game 1. In Game 7, with the score still tied 0-0 in the 8th inning, Hrbek executed a very uncommon 3-2-3 bases-loaded double play that saved the Twins against the Braves biggest threat of the game, which led to the Twins 10-inning, 1-0 win, in dramatic fashion.

Frequently injured (though seldom seriously), Hrbek retired after the players strike in 1994. Despite operating in the same lineup as Kirby Puckett for all but two years of his career, and his long and close association with Puckett, Hrbek's numbers never approached those of the center fielder, and it is generally agreed that his career, while long and productive, was not Baseball Hall of Fame material.

Kent Hrbek's number 14 was retired by the Twins in 1995, becoming one of only three others at the time (Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Tony Oliva) in franchise history. Hrbek was also inducted into the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. He was also one of few players then (which is even rarer today) who played out his entire career with only one team.

Career statistics

AVGGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBKOBPSLGHBPGDTBIBSHSFSBCSSB%AB/HRAB/K
.282174761929031749312182931086838798.367.48126165297611015663726.58721.17.8

Further readings

  • Kent Hrbek by Deegan, Paul J.; Carpenter, Jerry; DiMeglio, Steve ISBN 0939179326

External link

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