The Minnesota Twins have fired manager Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons. Only Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels has had a longer active managerial tenure in MLB.
Gardenhire succeeded Tom Kelly as the Twins’ skipper in 2002 and guided the team to the AL Central title. The Twins would win five more AL Central titles under Gardenhire, the most recent being in 2010. That season Gardenhire won AL Manager of the Year.
However, the Twins had trouble in the post-season. They advanced to the ALCS in ’02, but were eliminated in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010. On four of those occasions, they were bounced by the New York Yankees.
But at least they were winning back then. The Twins have had four consecutive losing seasons and have finished in last place in the AL Central in three of those seasons including 2014. The Twins finished 20 games back of the Tigers this season.
The Twins have been a remarkably stable organization. In 28 years, the Twins have had two managers – Kelly and Gardenhire. They just happen to be their two most successful skippers in a franchise history that dates back to when they were known as the Washington Senators.
So who will manage the Twins in 2015 and beyond? There’s Los Angeles Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach, Boston Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield or perhaps they’ll promote from within and tap current bench coach Terry Steinbach. That’s if Tony La Russa and the Arizona Diamondbacks don’t grab him first.
As for Gardenhire, he leaves an organization in which he has served in some capacity as player, coach or manager since 1987.
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