Minnesota Twins: Ranking the 5 Greatest Managers in Franchise History

Tom Kelly of the Minnesota Twins (Photo by: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Tom Kelly of the Minnesota Twins (Photo by: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins and Washington Senators have a history of some pretty consistent managers. We rank the five best.

Over 120 combined years of the Minnesota Twins and Washington Senators, thirty-one men have managed the team. Yesterday, we took a look at the five worst managers in team history. It was a pretty unimpressive list.

Today however, we focus on five managers (plus two honorable mentions) who helped lead the franchise to its periods of greatest success. Similar to yesterday, the manager needs to have managed at least a full season, but the team needs to have been a success during his time in Minnesota (or Washington).

Similar to yesterday as well, there are no managers from before 1922, as those teams and managers weren’t at all successful. Let’s get after it.

Minnesota Twins Honorable Mentions

Billy Martin (1969)

W-L: 97-65 (.599)

Average Finish: 1

Easily the most controversial manager in Twins history, Billy Martin liked to win at all costs. Martin led the Twins to their first division title ever. His winning percentage is the second best among Twins managers and he was liked by most fans.

On the opposite side of that, he angered management often and was far from a player’s manager. His infamous fight against 20-game winner Dave Boswell serves as a perfect example of that. He was a very talented manager, but not a great guy. All this adds up to only an honorable mention.

Joe Cronin (1933-1934)

W-L: 165-139 (.543)

Average Finish: 4

The first player-manager on this list, Joe Cronin led the Washington Senators to their third and final American League Pennant in 1933. The Senators won 99 games before losing in five games in the World Series against the Pirates.

Despite virtually the same roster in 1934, the team fell apart, losing 86 games and Cronin was traded the following season. His tough second season keeps him off the list, but he does deserve a mention for winning an AL Pennant.

Rocco Baldelli (2019-)

W-L: 102-60 (.623)

Average Finish: 1

Seem premature to be putting the Twins first year manager on this list? Think about it. Rocco Baldelli led the Twins to a 102 win season, the best season by a first year manager in team history. In addition, he has the best winning percentage of any Twins manager ever.

Now I’m not saying he’s the next Connie Mack, but the 2019 Manager of the Year has some good players and a bright future ahead of him. Give him a few seasons, and he might just squeeze his way onto this list.