Picking an All-Metrodome team brings back memories

By Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

Sometimes being in this business has its privileges. Recently I got a letter from the Minnesota Twins. The club is selecting its All-Metrodome team, based on the best players during their 27-plus year Metrodome history. They are asking members of the media to submit ballots, with the media ballot counting for one-third of the vote.

I've been to many games at the dome, including a few dozen during the first two years of the dome. I was just out of college at the time and lived about 15 minutes away, so it was convenient to stop by and get a $4 ticket to watch a game from the $4 outfield seats.

The ballot asked for three starting pitchers. My picks were Brad Radke, Johan Santana and Frank Viola.

When considering relief pitchers, I immediately eliminated Ron Davis. My picks were Rick Aguilera and Joe Nathan, with no disrespect intended for Juan Berenguer and Jeff Reardon.

First base was the toughest. Justin Morneau may prove to be one of the top players in Twins history, but I'm hoping most of that history will be at Target Field. For me, it's hard to think of first base at the dome without thinking of Kent Hrbek.

Chuck Knoblauch gets my vote for second base, mostly by default. At shortstop, Greg Gagne was a 10-year staple there and get s my vote. Gary Gaetti helped bring the Twins from obscurity to a world championship and gets my vote at third. Chili Davis was my pick for designated hitter.

As for catcher, Joe Mauer was the obvious choice.

That brings us to the outfield. Kirby Puckett and Torii Hunter were locks, but the third pick was tough. In the end, I had to decide between Tom Brunansky and Dan Gladden. I picked Gladden, based on the two world championships during his tenure.

Finally, who can argue with my choice for manager, Tom Kelly.

Looking at the ballot brought back some memories, most of them good. But while the Metrodome was good to the Twins, I'm looking forward to next year.

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Congratulations to Joe Sticha, who is retiring after a 46 years with Suel Printing. Joe has worked in the print shop and has been a valued member of our staff. Here's wishing him a happy retirement.

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