A few weeks ago, I looked at the worst personnel decisions in Minnesota sports history, and there was plenty to see.
It’s easier to remember the bad moves that local teams have made, but upon further review, there’s also a lot of really good ones.
Again, trades, draft picks, free-agent contracts and contract extensions are all fair game. Also, it’s important to note that the point of this exercise is to highlight moves that were somewhat risky, or turned out to be great values, not just to identity the moves that brought the very best players or directly led to championships.
The Jim Perry trade: May 2, 1963, was a long time ago, but it was no doubt a great day for the Twins. They dealt Jack Kralick to Cleveland for Perry, and the rest is history.
Perry became an anchor in the Twins’ rotation during one of the most successful eras in franchise history. In 10 seasons with the Twins, he won 128 games while posting a 3.15 ERA. He won the American League Cy Young Award in 1970 and finished third in the voting in 1969.
As for Kralick, he was good for the Indians in 1963 and 1964 but was out of the league soon after.
Drafting Kevin Garnett: There were plenty of questions when the Wolves took Garnett at No. 5 in the 1995 draft.
After all, no high school player had gone straight to the NBA in 20 years. Could he handle all the free time? The money? Certainly, someone that young couldn’t be responsible with all the stardom, right?
Twenty-five years later, Garnett finds himself in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and is undoubtedly the best player in franchise history.
He never delivered a title, but he made the Wolves very good and fun to watch for a number of years.
Drafting Randy Moss: To call drafting Moss in the first round a risk would be an understatement.
Scholarship revocations from Notre Dame and Florida State. A misdemeanor battery charge. Reports of skipped pre-draft meetings ... the list just went on and on. However, with a top-five talent on the board at 21st overall in the 1998 draft, Dennis Green took a chance on Moss. Looking back, calling that decision smart would be an understatement.
It’s not like everything was always perfect with Moss in Minnesota, but when he was on the field, he was breathtaking. During his first six seasons with the Vikings, Moss averaged nearly 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns per year.
The addition of Moss nearly put the Vikings over the edge in 1998, but we all know how that turned out.
The Johan Santana trade: What was your favorite Jared Camp moment, Marlins fans?
The Twins had the top pick in the 1999 Rule 5 Draft, and the Marlins wanted Camp. So the Twins agreed to take Camp first overall in the draft, with the Marlins taking Santana second for the Twins.
The Fish threw in $50,000, and the trade was complete. Santana and $50,000 for Camp ... seems fair, right?
Camp never played an MLB game, and as for Santana, you know how that worked out.
The Lindsay Whalen trade: Prior to Whalen’s homecoming, the Lynx were a disaster. The franchise had just two winning seasons in its first 11 years and went through six head coaches in that time.
Enter Whalen and Cheryl Reeve, and the Lynx have been the WNBA’s model franchise ever since.
Yes, bigger stars came and contributed more, but Whalen was the anchor on four championship teams, and breathed life into the franchise.
And Renee Montgomery, who the Lynx moved in the deal, never became the dominant player some thought she would.
Kevin Dudley is a Free Press staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Follow him on Twitter @Dudley7Kevin.