The Twins have had 13 managers since 1961 with some serving in that role for as little as 66 games but from late in 1986 through 2014 they have had just two managers, Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire. Gardenhire was let go after the 2014 season and native Minnesotan and MLB Hall of Famer Paul Molitor was named as the new Twins skipper.
According to the Twins, each player or manager ejected has to pay their own fines but I personally have my doubts about that. So let’s take a closer look at these managers and see how many times they ran afoul of an umpire. We will start at the bottom and work our way up the list of Twins managers career ejections.
0 – Cookie Lavagetto managed in the majors for all or parts of five different seasons with the Washington Senators and the Twins managing a total of 657 games and during that time he was never ejected. Cookie was ejected once as a player (10 seasons) and twice as a coach (12 seasons).
1 – Johnny Goryl managed the Twins for just 73 games in the latter part of 1980 and early portion of 1981 and got the “out” sign from the umps just once as the Twins manager but he was ejected once as a player (6 seasons) and three times as a coach (13 seasons).
2 – You wouldn’t expect to find the fiery Billy Martin this low on the ejection list but he only stayed around for one season as the Twins skipper and the umpires gave him the heave-ho just twice as the Twins manager but he was ejected a total of 46 times in his 16 seasons as a major league manager but he doesn’t even make the top 10 list. Billy also had 6 ejections during his 11 years as a player but as a coach (4 seasons) he never had to leave the game early.
3 – The mild-mannered players manager Sam Mele took the Twins to the 1965 World Series and was the Twins manager for all or parts of seven seasons. Mele hit the showers early just three times as the Twins manager and he did not have any run-ins with the umps during his 10 seasons as a player or two years as a coach.
4 – The only managing gig that Cal Ermer ever had was with the Twins for part of 1967 and all of 1968 and he had disagreements with umpires on four occasions that called for an early dismissal. Ermer spent 7 seasons in the minors as a player but never got the call to the big leagues as a player. Ermer coached for four seasons and was asked to leave the premises early in two games.
4 – Ray Miller was another Twins manager that didn’t last a full season, managing part of 1985 and most of 1986 but during that time he managed to find himself in the umpires cross-hairs four times and he clocked a total of 10 career ejections during his four seasons as a big league manager. Since he never played in the big leagues he had no ejections as a player but did get thrown out of one game while serving as a coach.
4 – Bill Rigney was a big league manager for 18 season between 1956-1976 and has notched 49 manager ejections, four of them were with the Minnesota Twins. Rigney was in the big leagues as a player for eight seasons and the umpires had him end his day early five more times. (SABR now has Rigney with 51 career ejections.)
5 – Paul Molitor was named as the Twins 13th manager in November 2014. Molitor has five career ejections as a player and three ejections as a coach (all in 2001) on his resume. Molitor earned his first ejection as a manager at Target Field on June 10, 2015 when he came out to back up Torii Hunter who was arguing a called strike three in a game against the Kansas City Royals. Torii Hunter was also ejected. Last ejection 4/20/2017.
5 – Tom Kelly was named the Twins skipper late in 1986 and hung on to that role through the 2001 season before resigning. TK ended up winning two World Series and winning 1,140 of the 2,385 games he managed. During this stretch TK was booted out of only 5 games, once each in 1987, 1990, 1998, 1999, and in 2000. He was sent packing for disagreeing on calls at first base twice and arguing balls and strikes three times. Kelly played in the big leagues during one season and coached for four more but he didn’t have any issues with the umpires that called for his dismissal.
5 – Frank Quilici took over from Bill Rigney as the manager about midway in 1972 and had that role through 1975. During Frank’s managing career the umpires asked him to head for an early shower five times. Frank played in the bigs during five different seasons and coached for two more without irritating any of the umpires, at least to the point of ejection.
7 – Gene Mauch managed for 26 seasons winning 1,901 of the 3,940 games with stops in Philadelphia, Montreal, Minnesota and California. The umpires saw fit to send Mauch packing a total of 43 times, seven of these early exits came as the Twins skipper. Mauch played in the majors for nine seasons and had a number of disagreements and the men in blue saw to it that Mauch was neither seen nor heard five times.
10 – Who would have thought that Billy Gardner would be so disagreeable that in his six seasons as a big league manager (five in Minnesota and one in KC) that umpires would send him home early 10 times (all as a Twins manager). I guess it was the fact that Gardner managed some pretty bad teams including the 1982 60-102 bunch that maybe drove him over the edge at times. It is Gardner however that is credited with molding these youngsters into ball players that would help the Twins win it all in 87 and 91. Gardner played big league ball in 10 different seasons and coached in five more but he never was ejected from a game until he became a manager.
72 – That bring us to former Twins manager, Ron Gardenhire. Gardy was a player and fan friendly manager that has had more than his share of disagreements with major league umpires, so many in fact that he is has now moved up to 8th on the list of all-time MLB career manager ejections list. With his most recent “your outta here” by the umpire, Gardy has tied Jim Leyland (72) for eighth place on the all-time list. Gardenhire was fired by the Twins on September 29, 2014 and is no longer an active manager but I fully expect him to manage again soon with another team. After 13 seasons as the Twins skipper he has 72 ejections on his resume. Gardy also was ejected during game 2 of the 2010 ALDS against the New York Yankees at Target field. Gardy had one early exit as a coach back in 1998 but was never sent for an early shower as a player. The Twins have played in Minnesota for 54 seasons and had eleven managers prior to Gardenhire and when you add up all those manager ejections you get a total of 45. Gardy has managed a total of 2,107 Twins games through 2014 so that means he was ejected once every 29.26 games and averages just under 6 early showers a season. Gardenhire has a high of 8 ejections in a season twice and his low was just 3 ejections and that was in 2012, maybe Gardy is starting to mellow or he just realized he had a bad team and didn’t want to waste his energy arguing with the umpires. The first time that Gardy was run by Hunter Wendelstedt was on July 18, 2005 in a 3-2 loss at the Metrodome. Gardy was not pleased and had this to say after the game but I should warn you that if you have young children near by you might want to “eject them from the room” before you hit the play button. If you are listening to this at work you might want to turn the volume down.
The current record holder for MLB manager ejections is Hall of Famer Bobby Cox who was ejected 158 times so Gardy has ways to go to catch Cox. Cox managed in 4,501 big league games.
To see the career manager ejection leaderboard, stop by my blog called Manager Ejections by the Numbers.
Updated April 20, 2017