This Day in Twins History – January 4, 2002

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire

In spite of the Minnesota Twins franchise uncertain future due to possible contraction, Ron Gardenhire is named as the Minnesota Twins 12th manager. Gardenhire, 44, replaces the Twins winningest manager, Tom Kelly who had resigned earlier saying that it was time for him to move on.

Ron Gardenhire was originally a New York Mets sixth round pick in 1979 and debuted with the Mets on September 1, 1981. Gardenhire played in 285 games for the Mets between 1981 – 1985, primarily at shortstop although he also played some 2B and 3B too. The Mets traded Gardenhire to the Twins on November 12, 1966 for the PTBNL and that turned out to be Dominic Iasparro. While the Twins were winning the World Series in 1987, Gardenhire spent the entire season at AAA Portland playing all four infield positions and even taking the pitching mound in two games.

Gardenhire retired as an active player after the 1987 season and started his managing career in 1988 with the A ball Kenosha Twins who finished fourth but had a 81-59 record. Gardenhire then moved up the ladder to the AA Orlando Twins affiliate where he managed for two seasons. Gardy’s teams finished third in 1989 with an 79-65 mark and first the next season, 1990 with an 85-59 record. The Twins then moved Gardenhire up to the big league team where he coached from 1991 – 2001.

Gardenhire has managed the Twins since 2002 and in his 10 big league seasons and 1,621 games as the Twins skipper, Gardy has posted a record of 866-755 (.534) and had led his team to six first place finishes, one second place, two third place and one last place finish (2011).

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