Ron Gardenhire

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Ronald Clyde Gardenhire

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Biographical Information[edit]

Gardenhire (in blue) speaks to Air Force members

Ron Gardenhire was the skipper of the Minnesota Twins for 13 seasons and has been affiliated with the club since the 1980s.

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 underwent surgery on April 18th at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Jerry Narron took over for him as bench coach on an interim basis.

He is the father of Toby Gardenhire.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Preceded by
Tom Kelly
Minnesota Twins Manager
Succeeded by
Paul Molitor

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
1988 Kenosha Twins Midwest League 81-59 4th Minnesota Twins Lost League Finals
1989 Orlando Twins Southern League 79-65 3rd Minnesota Twins Lost in 1st round
1990 Orlando Sun Rays Southern League 85-59 1st Minnesota Twins Lost League Finals
2002 Minnesota Twins American League 94-67 1st Minnesota Twins Lost ALCS
2003 Minnesota Twins American League 90-72 1st Minnesota Twins Lost ALDS
2004 Minnesota Twins American League 92-70 1st Minnesota Twins Lost ALDS
2005 Minnesota Twins American League 83-79 3rd Minnesota Twins
2006 Minnesota Twins American League 96-66 1st Minnesota Twins Lost ALDS
2007 Minnesota Twins American League 79-83 3rd Minnesota Twins
2008 Minnesota Twins American League 88-75 2nd Minnesota Twins
2009 Minnesota Twins American League 87-76 1st Minnesota Twins Lost ALDS
2010 Minnesota Twins American League 94-68 1st Minnesota Twins Lost ALDS
2011 Minnesota Twins American League 63-99 5th Minnesota Twins
2012 Minnesota Twins American League 66-96 5th Minnesota Twins
2013 Minnesota Twins American League 66-96 4th Minnesota Twins
2014 Minnesota Twins American League 70-92 5th Minnesota Twins

Further Reading[edit]

  • Barry M. Bloom: "Gardy well supported as he faces cancer fight: D-backs' new bench coach to undergo prostatectomy in April",, February 14, 2017. [1]
  • Bob Nightengale: "As Diamondbacks go on without him, Ron Gardenhire readies for cancer fight", USA Today Sports, April 9, 2017. [2]

Related Sites[edit]