Every successful team needs a leader, and the 2010 Minnesota Twins were led by one of the best the organization has ever seen.
I started the 2010 Minnesota Twins series with a look back at the Twins’ opening of Target Field and the opening of the new decade. Today, the series continues with the manager trusted with leading the Twins into the new decade.
In 2010, Ron Gardenhire went into his ninth season as the manager of the Minnesota Twins. Prior to the 2010 season, Gardy had finished top three in the Manager of the Year voting six times. Spoiler alert, he would once again finish top three in the voting in 2010 ,but finished in a spot he hadn’t before.
Going into the 2010 season, Gardy, along with the Twins front office, made the move to trade outfielder Carlos Gomez to the Brewers for 26-year-old shortstop J.J. Hardy. This move allowed the Twins to part ways with former shortstop Orlando Cabrera.
Along with replacing Cabrera, the Twins needed to replace third basemen Joe Crede, who missed the end of the 2009 season with a back injury.
Along with bringing back Carl Pavano, the Twins were looking to build on the success they had in 2009. And Gardenhire was their leader.
The Minnesota Twins started the season hot, going 11-4 in their first 15 games, and amazingly only spent four games out of first place in the first 78 games of the season. But as dominate as they were in April, May, and June, things changed in July.
The Minnesota Twins started the month of July 3-8 in their first 11 games, seeing them fall as far as 4.5 games back of the AL Central lead. And it was gut check time for Gardenhire’s Twins.
From July 16th through August 1st, the Minnesota Twins went on a 13-3 run, including seven straight to end the month of July, but it still wasn’t enough to take back the lead in the AL Central.
It wouldn’t be until August 10th, over a month since they lost the lead, when the Minnesota Twins finally retook the AL Central lead, and they never looked back. For the rest of August, the Twins never had more than a five-game lead on the rest of the division, but that changed in September.
Throughout the entire month of September, the Twins saw their AL Central lead grow, and reached its peak on September 22nd. The Twins had a 12-game lead on the division, with only 10 games left in the regular season. September 22nd also saw the Twins reach 32 games above .500, the high of the season.
After leading the Minnesota Twins to a 94-68 regular season, back to back AL Central titles, and only being ejected six times, Ron Gardenhire was awarded the American League Manager of the Year award. A well-deserved honor.
As it turned out, the 2010 Minnesota Twins would be the last Twins team Gardenhire managed that won over 70 games. However, up until 2010, Gardenhire led the Twins to six AL Central Titles, five 90 or better win seasons, and racked up 53 ejections.
However, to the dismay of Twins fans, Gardy’s career playoff record was 6-21, and four of those wins came in the 2002 playoffs.
After 2010, Gardenhire would go on to manage the Minnesota Twins through 2014, but finished better than last place in the division only once. However, Twins fans did get to enjoy Gardy getting ejected 19 more times in those four seasons.
After 13 seasons as the Twins’ manager, Gardenhire was replaced by Paul Molitor following the 2014 season.
We are just getting started on our 2010 Twins series! Now that we have refreshed your memory on the details, we will start digging into the players that made the AL Central Championship possible in 2010!