September 21, 2013

Valuable card or not, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has meant plenty to team

I recently called Dugan’s Sports Cards in west Olympia to inquire about the value of team manager baseball cards.

Yes, the card for an older, more famous manager like Casey Stengel would have some value, I was told.

How about one of longtime Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire?

I don’t think so, said the man on the phone.

Thus ended the conversation.

I guess I already knew the answer, but it was still hard to take because Gardy has been one of the team’s most successful managers, winning six division titles after taking over for former manager Tom Kelly in 2002.

Ron Gardenhire

Gardy also was the American League Manager of the Year in 2010 and runner-up five times.

But it appears that Gardenhire might be in jeopardy of  losing his job after thee straight seasons of losing 90 or more games. 

It might be as much his decision as management’s because I think Gardy is sick of losing, too.

Gardy never got the Twins as far as the World Series after Kelly won in 1987 and 1991, but Gardenhire’s teams won more consistently. 

Kelly finished with a career winning percentage of .478, while Gardenhire, if this is his last season, leaves with a career winning percentage above .500, although it would have been much higher if not for three seasons of almost losing 100 games each year.

Gardenhire is thought of as a good manager, but he also rode a wave of talent, including Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, Johan Santana, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Joe Nathan, the all-time saves leader for the team.

There also have been mistakes: trading Matt Garza for Delmon Young (ugh), and a pitching rotation, which initially consisted of Mike Pelfrey, Vance Worley and Kevin Correia, has been a disaster. 

I thought Correia had no chance to succeed in the American League, but he actually has been OK.

Like the man says, Gardenhire’s baseball card may have no value, but he’s proven his value as a manager. If this is his final season with the Twins, he won’t be unemployed for long.

Photo credit: Public domain image of Ron Gardenhire, via Wikimedia Commons.

–Rolf Boone


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.