Michael Cuddyer has witnessed it all

Michael CuddyerTuesday night, the Minnesota Twins clinched their sixth American League Central title in the last nine years. Since this run of Twins success began in 2002, many outstanding players have taken the field at both the Metrodome and Target Field. Amid all this assembled talent, only one player has been present for the entirety of this era, that man is Michael Cuddyer.

After appearing in eight games during the 2001 season, Cuddyer played in 41 games during the team's return to playoff glory in 2002. Cuddyer capped off his '02 campaign by batting .333 in eight postseason games vs. the Oakland Athletics and the eventual World Series Champion Anaheim Angels.

Beginning in 2004, the right fielder became a fixture in the Twins lineup and by 2006, the Norfolk, Virginia native was widely considered one of the team's undisputed leaders in the clubhouse. Aside from an injury plagued 2008 season, Cuddyer has been there for the Twins every step of the way.

Cuddyer's value to the Twins has become even more apparent during the last two seasons, when the big armed outfielder picked up a first baseman's glove, after consecutive potentially season ending injuries to Twins star Justin Morneau.   

The Twins best and most visible players of this title run have been names like Joe Mauer, Morneau, Torii Hunter and Johan Santana. While these accolades have been very well deserved, there is no question that the glue of this era of success has been Cuddyer. He has truly seen it all.

Cuddyer has been a winner on the field and a fan favorite in the state of Minnesota. Below is a piece of video displaying Cuddyer's comfort level when interacting with fans.

The setting is the Champps Americana restaurant in Maple Grove, Minnesota, during a “Baseball Unplugged” event in 2009. Cuddyer, a well known amateur magician, shows off his card trick skills to a very excited onlooker. 

Cuddyer appears to be a team leader on and off the field.