Random Twin of the Week: Ron Gardenhire
By Editorial Staff
Ron Gardenhire is your 2010 AL Manager of the Year, so he’s also the (not-so) Random Twin of the Week. Drafted by the Mets out of the University of Texas at Austin, Gardy was never more than a replacement-level infielder as a player. He couldn’t hit, batting just .232/.277/.296/.573 in five seasons with the Metropolitans, and provided barely adequate defense at short, making him worth about half a win above replacement. Perhaps this is why Gardy has always had a fetish for the Matt Tolberts of the world; he knows what it’s like to have to work very hard to develop very little talent. Gardy was dealt to the Twins in April of 1987, though he spent all of that season in AAA and never saw any playing time with the big league club. He retired from baseball at the end of the season.
The Twins must have been impressed with Gardy’s get-after-it-ituity or battle-your-tail-off-ness, as he was promptly hired to manage the Twins’ single-A affiliate in 1988. He moved much more quickly through the system as a manager than he ever did as a player, spending just three seasons managing the minors and leading Kenosha and Orlando to first and second-place finishes. He was promoted to third base coach in 1991, winning a World Series with that team. Gardy would spend the next 11 seasons as a member of the coaching staff, until he was tabbed to replace the retiring Tom Kelly as manager in 2002. Six division titles, a MOY award, a .553 winning percentage, and, um, well not much success in the postseason, Gardy is the most successful manager in franchise history (though you could argue that he has been given much more talent to work with than pretty much every other manager in franchise history and perhaps hasn’t done as much with it as he should).