Repeating as American League Central champions was the main mission for the 2003 Minnesota Twins, and it was accomplished. But the ultimate objective of reaching and winning the World Series remained elusive for Minnesota.
After dominating their division during a 94-win 2002 season, the 2003 campaign was filled with several high and low moments, but the Minnesota Twins remained persistent and won a respectable 90 games.
Closer for the Minnesota Twins Eddie Guardado was selected to his second consecutive All-Star Game.
The Minnesota Twins met the Yankees in the AL Division Series and posted a Game 1 victory at Yankee Stadium. New York won the next three games and claimed the series in four games.
Torii Hunter's spectacular defensive play was again rewarded when the center fielder for the Minnesota Twins earned his third consecutive AL Gold Glove Award.
The year will also be remembered as being the last hurrah for a few longtime veteran players for the Minnesota Twins , who were bid farewell after the season.
The Minnesota Twins made it three in a row by taking the American League Central again with a 92-70 record -- nine games ahead of the second-place White Sox.
This time, the cast of characters was different for the Minnesota Twins-- with players like Eddie Guardado, LaTroy Hawkins, A.J. Pierzynski and Eric Milton with new clubs and Doug Mientkiewicz dealt at the trading deadline. But several new faces stepped in or stepped up for the Minnesota Twins. First-year closer Joe Nathan owned the ninth inning with 44 saves. Outfielder Lew Ford came up from Triple-A the first week and helped carry the offense. Fans also got to know Justin Morneau, Henry Blanco and Juan Rincon.
And no one will forget the dominance of lefty Johan Santana, who went 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA to bring a Cy Young Award to the Minnesota Twins for the first time since 1988. Torii Hunter continued his defensive brilliance, earning his fourth consecutive AL Gold Glove Award.
It wasn't all smooth -- hometown native and former overall No. 1 pick Joe Mauer's highly anticipated rookie season was limited to 35 games because of a left knee injury and several other regular players spent time on the disabled list.
A successful season for the Minnesota Twins came to an abrupt ending when the Yankees eliminated the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series in four games for the second consecutive year.