Twins fire Gardenhire after 13 seasons
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins fired manager Ron Gardenhire on Monday, saying it was time for a new voice after his 13-season tenure concluded with at least 92 losses in each of the last four years.
The move was made with one season left on Gardenhire’s contract, ending the second-longest active tenure in the major leagues behind Mike Scioscia of the Angels.
“The reason for this change, I think it’s safe to say, the last couple years we have not won enough games,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. “That’s what it comes down to. It’s nothing more, nothing less than that.”
Gardenhire played an integral role in the franchise’s renaissance, guiding the Twins to their first of six American League Central division titles in 2002 in his first year on the job. But Gardenhire’s teams only got out of the first round once, and his postseason record was 6-21 with the last win coming in 2004.
The Twins have long been the model of stability in not only baseball but major professional sports, with only two managers over the last 28 years and two general managers over the last 20 seasons.
But all the losing of late became too much to overcome. Over the last four years, the Twins went 78-148 from Aug. 1 on for an abysmal .345 winning percentage.
“I’m gone, I’m outta here because we didn’t win,” Gardenhire said. “That’s what it gets down to in baseball. That’s what it should get down to. You have to win on the field and these last four years have been tough for all of us.”
The Twins finished this season at 70-92, making Gardenhire just the fourth manager in the game’s history to preside over at least four straight 90-loss seasons with the same team, joining Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics (nine), Zach Taylor of the St. Louis Browns (four) and his predecessor with the Twins, Tom Kelly (four). Kelly returned for one more season after his streak, and he retired after an 85-77 finish in 2001.