6th Annual Jamboree with Michael Cuddyer and Photos
Michael Brent Cuddyer is a former professional baseball outfielder who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies, and New York Mets. Cuddyer was a two-time MLB All Star and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2013, when he led the National League in batting average.
Michael is a 1997 graduate of Great Bridge High School where he was a standout athlete in baseball, basketball, and football as well as student body president and National Honor Society member. Cuddyer was named Virginia’s Player of the Year and Gatorade National baseball Player of the Year in 1997. He was also a member of USA Today’s All-Star and the USA Junior National teams in 1997. During his high school career, he also played American Legion Baseball and was named the 2014 American Legion Graduate of the Year.
Cuddyer was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round (9th pick) of the 1997 amateur draft, but did not sign until August. Cuddyer initially committed to play college baseball at Florida State but waited for the Twins’ signing bonus offer to increase before deciding to go professional. Consequently, he did not make his professional debut until 1998.
Michael Cuddyer played 11 seasons with the Minnesota Twins from 2001-11. He finished his Twins career playing in 1,139 games with 1,106 hits, 239 doubles, 35 triples, 141 home runs, 580 RBI, 606 runs scored and 411 walks. Cuddyer was named to the 2011 American League All-Star team and was part of six Twins AL Central Division Championship teams. Michael ranks ninth on the Twins all-time list in doubles, 10th in home runs and 11th in RBI. Cuddyer is one of 23 Twins to play 10-plus seasons with the club. Cuddyer rejoined the Twins organization as a Special Assistant on November 28, 2016. Cuddyer will work with Twins executives and coaches “to ensure development in player understanding of culture, talent evaluation and organizational vision.”
On December 16, 2011, Cuddyer signed a three-year deal with the Colorado Rockies. He chose to wear number 3 in order to honor Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, with whom he had grown close within the Twins organization before Killebrew’s death. In 2013, Cuddyer set a personal best with a 27-game hitting streak, the longest in Rockies history to that point. Cuddyer was also named an All-Star for the second time in his career. Cuddyer finished the 2013 regular season with a .331 batting average to win the batting title by 10 points over Atlanta’s Chris Johnson.
On August 17, 2014, Cuddyer again hit for the cycle, becoming the 30th player to hit for the cycle more than once and just the third player in history, after John Olerud and Bob Watson, to hit for the cycle in both the American and National Leagues.
Cuddyer signed a two-year contract with the New York Mets on November 10, 2014 and appeared in the first World Series of his career with the Mets in 2015. Michael signed with the Mets in part so he could play with his childhood friend David Wright.
On December 11, 2015, Michael Cuddyer announced his retirement via an article on The Players’ Tribune titled “Play Hard and Dream Big”. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “As everybody knows, Michael throughout his Major League seasons has been a complete pro,” “He embodies and defines what the word ‘professional’ means — on and off the field.
Michael Cuddyer in his retirement letter stated “As hard as it is to retire, I know my family deserves to have me home full-time now,” he said. “It is time for my kids to develop their own dreams with their dad by their side.” “I’ve been a professional ball player for nearly two decades, but learning to become a professional was a lifelong learning process. A memory from high school jumps to my mind. One game as a freshman, I was stranded on second at the end of an inning. I let my frustration get the best of me. Trotting off the field to grab my glove, I tossed my helmet clear across the infield towards the dugout. A voice called me back over to the bench. It was my high school coach, Martin Oliver. “I don’t know what they did in Little League, but we don’t throw our helmets here. Come in here and take a seat with me the rest of the game.” I watched the rest of the game from the dugout. From that moment on, I never threw a helmet on a baseball field. But Coach Oliver wasn’t just talking about helmets. In a team sport, no player can act like he’s on his own island. It was an early lesson that has stuck with me.”
“As I’ve grown in the game, I’ve grown up as a person. This brings me to another reason for retiring, beyond the physical toll of the game. The beauty of family, once a distant idea, became an integral part of my identity. In 2006, I made the most important decision of my life when I married my wife, Claudia. She has been my rock and my constant ever since. Our relationship showed me a love greater than baseball. She has made me a better person and an even better baseball player. From our partnership, I’ve learned to value the importance of relationships and leadership. Claudia and I have three children: Casey, who is seven, and Chloe and Maddie, who are both four. Claudia has worked and volunteered for both Hickory High School and Great Bridge High School. I was very fortunate to have two wonderful parents, Henry and Marcia, to whom I am eternally grateful. They never once told me I couldn’t achieve my dreams. I am also grateful for my younger sister, Katie, who challenged me in sports, unwillingly at times, despite being five years younger. She made me tougher.”
“To my hometown in Virginia: you helped shape my life and career. From my PONY League teammates to the neighborhood kids who played football and baseball with me in the street, I’ll always be your buddy from Chesapeake.”
The Minnesota Twins recently announced that former Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer and former General Manager Andy MacPhail have been elected to the club’s Hall of Fame. Cuddyer and MacPhail will become the 29th and 30th members of the Twins Hall of Fame when they are inducted during separate on-field pre-game ceremonies scheduled for Hall of Fame Weekend, August 19-20 when the Twins host the Arizona Diamondbacks at Target Field.
On April 6, 2017 Michael and his family planted an American Ash tree at Great Bridge Community in honor of his on and off the field all star accomplishments. Michael’s bats were made from Ash but his love of family and professionalism are All American Gold.