MLB History: Who is Ron Gardenhire? #Twins


Ron Gardenhire is not edgy.  Ozzie Guillen is edgy.  Ron Gardenhire does not get you excited about baseball. Ron Gardenhire is as interesting as a bucket of acorns.  Yes, he has an excellent winning percentage as the Twins manager, and an even better record for home games, but he’s just not exciting.  Gardy’s middle name is Clyde, and that’s the only interesting thing I knew about the Twins skipper before embarking on an exhaustive search of the internet.

According to his Wikipedia page, Ronald Clyde Gardenhire was born on a couch in West Germany on 24 October 1957. No joke.

Follow me after the jump to learn more about the Twins skipper….

Drafted in the 6th round of the 1979 draft by the New York Mets out of University of Texas (Austin), the spry young infielder debuted for the Mets 2 short years later on the first of September 1981. Gardy played five fairly unimpressive seasons with the Mets before taking a minor league contract with the Twins in 1987. Gardenhire’s last MLB outing occurred 6 October 1985 against the Montreal Expos. Gardenhire went 1-4 with a strikeout, recording 4 put outs at 3B. During his time in the majors he put up a career slash line of .232/.277/.296 and 0.5 WAR over the course of 285 games (141 of which came during 1982).

R. Clyde Gardenhire played one AAA season for the Portland Beavers (the Minnesota Twins AAA affiliate), alongside current Athletics GM Billy Beane, under the tutilage of the now famous manager Charlie Manuel.  Gardenhire retired from professional baseball following the 1987 season but stayed on within the organization as the coach of the Class A Kenosha Twins.  Had Gardenhire garnered a September call-up he would have been part of the first World Series success in franchise history, but despite a season line of .272/.347/.380 Ronald spent the entire season in Portland.

In 1988 The Kenosha squad finished 3 games out in the North division and ended up in 2nd place. The next season Minnesota moved “Gardy” up to AA and handed him the reins for the Orlando Twins and the club responded, finishing the season in first place.  Following the 1989 season the Orlando Twins became the Orlando Sun Rays and again Gardenhire coached them to first place in the division.

After three very successful campaigns as the skipper of the Twins minor league affiliates Tom Kelly and the Twins came calling and tapped Gardy to become the Twins third base coach for what would be a magical 1991 season.  Gardenhire would hold on tightly to the third base coaching job holding it for 11 seasons before finally relinquishing the post prior to the 2002 season.

2002 would see a changing of the guard in Minnesota as the legendary Tom Kelly stepped down and handed the club over to Ron Gardenhire.  Twins fans old and young have a place near and dear to their heart for Tom Kelly who coached the Twins to their only 2 WS championships in 1987 and 1991. Gardenhire coached the Twins to 5 consecutive winning seasons before just falling short in 2007 with a 79-83 mark. After coaching the Twins to a 94-68 record in 2010 Gardy was awarded the award of AL Manager of the year.  Unable to build off of that success, the Twins fell in 2011 to a 63-99 record.  Ronald has been coaching the Twins for 10 seasons and has lead the team to 6 division titles and a .534 winning percentage.

Ron Gardenhire will have to find his magic again in 2012 and coach his players back up to their 2009 and 2010 levels while continuing to develop the youngsters on the roster so that the 2012 Twins do not become a carbon-copy of their 2011 selves.