The Minnesota Twins of the late 90’s-early 2000’s were among the unluckiest teams in sports. They were a solid team that, in some years, would have advanced to the World Series, but instead ran into the Yankees’ dynasty-in-progress, seemingly every season. Their pitching staff was led by the ever-durable Brad Radke, and their lineup was anchored by a young Torii Hunter and stalwarts Matt Lawton and Jacque Jones.
But above all, the man who best exemplifies these Twins teams is none other than Corey Koskie. A tall, left-handed hitting third baseman with power, and great range and defensive ability, Koskie played his first seven MLB seasons in Minnesota, beginning in 1998. The Twins picked Koskie four years earlier, in the 26th round of the 1994 Draft. By 1999, Koskie was the full-time third baseman, and he posted solid offensive numbers.
Koskie’s best season at the plate came in 2001, when he appeared in a career-high 153 games, and hit 26 home runs. He drove in 103 runs, stole 27 bases, and finished 7th in WAR among American League batters, with a 6.3 mark. In addition, he finished 25th in the MVP voting, garnering a single vote for the award. Koskie’s 2001 performance, given the benefit of hindsight, was HIGHLY underrated. He was one of the top 10 players in the American League, there’s no two ways about it. Was he the MVP? No, but he absolutely deserved more consideration.
The Blue Jays signed Corey Koskie after the 2004 season, but he appeared in just 97 games in an injury-riddled 2005 campaign. He played just one more season in the majors, for the Brewers in 2006. Sadly, post-concussion symptoms ended Koskie’s career prematurely. He finished his 9-year career with 989 games played and 124 home runs. To this day he remains one of my favorite Canadian ballplayers. Remember Corey Koskie?