Justin Morneau is a retired Canadian professional baseball player best known for his time with the Minnesota Twins in Major League Baseball (MLB). Throughout his career, Morneau established himself as one of the leading power hitters of his generation.
Born on May 15, 1981, in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, Morneau showed an affinity for baseball from a young age.
Justin Morneau is the youngest child of George Morneau and Audra Chartrand. His father, George, was deeply involved in sports, serving as a hitting coach for various baseball and softball teams, working in childcare, and even owning a sporting goods store. Justin’s mother, Audra, was an elementary school educator and a former player in fast-pitch softball. Justin has one elder sibling, a brother named Geordie. George Morneau also had a history with hockey, playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings and even participating in the Minnesota North Stars’ training camp.
Raised in New Westminster, British Columbia, a historic area near Vancouver, Morneau was actively engaged in sports from a young age. He was part of the local New Westminster Royals hockey team, gaining recognition as an outstanding goalie, often playing with teams a year older than him. He also actively participated in baseball, playing with the New Westminster Minor Baseball Association and the North Delta Blue Jays in British Columbia’s Premier Baseball League.
During his early schooling, Morneau initially attended Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary School before transferring to Richard McBride Elementary, where his mother worked as a teacher. Here, Morneau was enrolled in a French immersion program and was active in various sports, including basketball, volleyball, and ball hockey.
As a child, Morneau was a sports enthusiast, idolizing athletes from various sports. His favorite athletes included hockey legends like Patrick Roy, Cam Neely, and Ray Bourque, as well as baseball stars like John Olerud, Ken Griffey Jr., Jack Morris, and Larry Walker. Morneau was a Boston Bruins fan in the NHL and supported the Toronto Blue Jays in MLB.
In the academic year 1994-1995, Morneau attended St. Thomas More Collegiate for his eighth grade. Here, he was an active basketball player. Despite being approached by coaches to join the school’s celebrated football program due to his athletic prowess, Morneau decided against it.
Later, he shifted to New Westminster Secondary School, graduating in 1999. While there, Morneau continued to engage in basketball and hockey. His athletic achievements did not go unnoticed; he was named the New Westminster High School Athlete of the Year and participated in Canadian national champion baseball teams in both 1997 and 1998. In 1998, he stood out as the best hitter and catcher at the National Championships, representing Team British Columbia.
Morneau had a brief association with the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League. He attended their training camp and participated in a single preseason game as a goalie. Notably, he chose the jersey number 33, inspired by his idol, goalie Patrick Roy. Morneau won a Memorial Cup with the Winter Hawks in 1998, although he describes his role modestly, stating, “I was the third goalie. A backup to the backup.” Eventually, Morneau opted to focus his energy on baseball, a decision that proved to be well-judged. Mike Williamson, a Winter Hawks assistant coach at the time, reminisced, “We told him he should go to hockey because not many Canadian guys end up doing well in baseball. He proved us wrong.”
Despite receiving numerous scholarship offers from NCAA schools, Morneau chose to forgo college. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the third round as the 89th overall pick in the 1999 MLB draft. Transitioning to first base in 2001 while with the Class-A Quad Cities River Bandits, Morneau posted impressive minor league stats over six seasons, hitting .310 with 87 homers, 153 runs batted in, and 122 doubles.
Morneau’s professional baseball journey began when he was selected by the Minnesota Twins as the 89th overall pick in the 1999 MLB draft. After some years honing his skills in the minor leagues, he made his MLB debut for the Twins in 2003.
Morneau showcased his talents in the 2002 and 2004 All-Star Futures Games, representing the World teams. He was twice honored as the Eastern League Player of the Week in 2002 for the weeks of April 22-28 and July 15-21. In September 2002, he was elevated to the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, the Edmonton Trappers, although he didn’t see game action that season. Morneau made his Triple-A debut in 2003 with the Twins’ newly affiliated team, the Rochester Red Wings. He ended that season with a .268 batting average, along with 16 home runs and 42 runs batted in, across 71 games.
As a first baseman, Morneau was a dominant force at the plate for the Twins. His breakout season came in 2006 when he posted a .321 batting average with 34 home runs and 130 runs batted in (RBIs). That same year, he was awarded the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Throughout his 14-year MLB career, Morneau played for the Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies, and Chicago White Sox. He accumulated more than 1,600 hits, over 240 home runs, and an impressive .281 career batting average.
After battling with concussions and other injuries, Morneau retired after the 2016 season. He has since transitioned into a broadcasting role, serving as a television analyst for the Twins, where he offers his insights on the game from a player’s perspective.
As of 2023, Justin Morneau’s estimated net worth stood at around $35 million. This wealth is attributed to his successful MLB career, endorsements, and his subsequent roles in broadcasting.
Throughout his illustrious career, Morneau achieved several significant milestones: