Ronald Clyde Gardenhire
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 175 lb.
- School Paris Junior College, University of Texas at Austin
- High School Okmulgee High School
- Debut September 1, 1981
- Final Game October 6, 1985
- Born October 24, 1957 in Butzbach, W.Germany
Gardenhire, a shortstop, was selected by the New York Mets in the sixth round of the 1979 amateur draft and made the Carolina League All-Star team that year in his first pro season. He earned a September call-up with the Mets in 1981, and got his first big league hit on September 11th off future Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter. The next season, 1982 he hit .240 as the Mets regular shortstop.
Gardenhire was traded to the Twins following the 1986 campaign, and after his playing career ended, he made his managerial debut with the Kenosha Twins in 1988. He joined the Twins coaching staff in 1991 and was named the club's manager in 2002. "Gardy" became only the third skipper to start his career with three straight pennant-winning seasons (in his case, the AL Central division title). He added a fourth division title to his resumé in 2006 and fell one game short of winning a fifth in 2008. He then won two more division titles in 2009 and 2010. He had a lot less success in the post-season, however; after reaching the ALCS in his first year as manager, his teams were eliminated in the first round every year after that.
After never finishing below 3rd place in his first 9 seasons as manager, and falling below .500 only once, he ran into trouble in 2011, when the Twins were decimated by injuries. The team finished in last place with the worst record in the American League. On July 2, 2012, Gardenhire won his 900th game as the Twins' skipper, becoming the second man in franchise history to reach that total, following his predecessor Tom Kelly. On April 5, 2014, he made that 1,000 wins; he was only the tenth manager in history to achieve the total with one team, but still 140 wins behind Kelly, who was one of the other nine men on that exclusive list. He was fired on September 29, 2014, the day after the regular season ended, after a third last-place finish in the last four years.
He was offered a job as an adviser with the Twins, but decided instead to take a year off and spend time with his family before settling on a new occupation. He had not given up on the possibility of managing in the major leagues again. In April 2016, he returned to the Twins as a special adviser to General Manager Terry Ryan, then in 2017, he joined the coaching staff of the Arizona Diamondbacks under new skipper Torey Lovullo as bench coach. However, when he joined the club at the beginning of spring training in February, he announced that he was fighting prostate cancer; the good side of that news was that the condition had been detected early and that his prognosis for a full recovery was excellent.
He is the father of Toby Gardenhire.
- AL Manager of the Year Award (2010)
- Division Titles: 6 (2002-2004, 2006, 2009 & 2010)
|Minnesota Twins Manager
Year-By-Year Managerial Record
- Barry M. Bloom: "Gardy well supported as he faces cancer fight: D-backs' new bench coach to undergo prostatectomy in April", mlb.com, February 14, 2017.