Minnesota Twins Spring Training Countdown: 3, Managers of the Year

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 11: Manager Paul Molitor
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 11: Manager Paul Molitor /

The Minnesota Twins are just 3 days away from spring training. As we celebrate the return of the game we love, let’s look at the #3’s place in team history.

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectation after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card team. We will be highlighting numbers from team history that represent the number of days until spring training from now until pitchers and catchers report on February 13th.

While the Minnesota Twins may not quite have the same storied histories of some franchises in sports like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, or even the Dallas Cowboys. There is one franchise they have something in common with. Like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Twins have not had a lot of turnover at their Manager/Head Coach position. Since 1986, the Twins have had three managers each of which who have won a Manager of the Year award during their tenure with the Twins.

Tom Kelly

Tom Kelly as the choice for the 1991 Manager of the Year award was a pretty easy pick. He was at the helm of a team that went Worst to First on their way to winning the 1987 World Series championship. That season the Twins went 95-67 and defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series 4-1. Then, of course, it was the 4-3 battle with the Atlanta Braves that secured the Twins as 1991 Champions.

While Kelly will always be remembered as one of the great Twins managers due to his role in winning the franchises two World Series titles. His overall record as a manager does not look great due to the lean years of the later 1990’s. Career Kelly went 1140-1244 with 1987 and 1991 being the clear highlights of that run.

Ron Gardenhire

Ron Gardenhire will now be manning the dugout of the American League Central rival Detroit Tigers. As we know, before that he manned the Twins clubhouse from 2002-2014. It seemed that Gardenhire was pretty much always in the conversation for Manager of the Year. Just for proof of that, here is a list of all the years in which he just missed the cut:

  • 2002 finished 3rd
  • 2003 finished 2nd
  • 2004 finished 2nd
  • 2006 finished 2nd
  • 2008 finished 2nd
  • 2009 finished 2nd

Finally, in 2010, Gardenhire was able to put”1st” next to his vote total and was named American League Manager of the Year.

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In 2010 the Twins went 94-68 and finished 1st in the American League Central but then lost in the first round of the playoffs to the New York Yankees. Over his entire time with the Twins, Gardenhire went 1068-1039 to stay just above .500. No matter how frustrating and stuck in the past his managing style may have been for fans, there is no denying he had a pretty good run in Minnesota.

Paul Molitor

Paul Molitor may have initially gained Twins fans’ hearts as a player, but this past season he started to make a way into fans’ hearts as a manager. After some rough seasons, Molitor almost followed Kelly in going Worst to First but fell short and instead settled for a Wild Card spot and lost to the Yankees in the Wild Card game.

After 59-103 finish in 2016, the Twins 85-77 finish was well welcomed among Twins Territory. After two rough seasons, Molitor’s third season leading the Twins puts his career managing record at 227-259. Even if the numbers do not look good now, much of what appears to be happening in the clubhouse under Molitor’s leadership is creating excitement among fans.

Next: Minnesota Twins 5 best catching groups all-time

The smell of Peanuts and Hot Dogs are so close! Three more days until Spring Training.