And so the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club has stepped into the next era of managers. The Twins have been through twelve men in that position. Can you name them all? I will list them at the end of this article…. But until then, some thoughts on the Twins of 2014.

Ron Gardenhire did an admirable job. I am sorry to see him go, but it was a necessary step. His coaching staff has also been released, which is pretty much standard operating procedure.

I will not miss the pitching coach, Mr. Anderson, in particular. It sure seems he missed the boat on some good pitchers – or else the Twins gave up some good arms, so maybe it was former general manager Billy Smith – those pitchers who ‘got away’ are Kyle Losch, Pat Neschek, Johan Liriano, Francisco Liriano and Matt Garza in particular. I have to wonder what it would be like if the Twins had managed to hang on to a couple of these guys. Rick Anderson has performed quite well, but I still didn’t see what I had hoped from him.

Batting coaches? Vavra was one that I didn’t understand. He needed to be moved out of the batting coach slot. I wouldn’t mind the Twins giving Tom Brunansky another year to see what he can do there. Ullger should be able to catch on with other teams. Of Cuellar and Damman I have no opinion. That leaves Paul Molitor and Terry Steinbach – both of whom may be a couple of good candidates for the Twins manager of 2015.

If you want some sore spots:

The Twins have a history, it seems, of hanging on to young kids that don’t amount to much – and then give up on players who end up rocking the baseball world. I’m not sure how many more chances should be given for Arcia and the likes of him…. And I mourn over those who got away … Gomez in Milwaukee a little bit (only a little bit because he was a bit of a head case…) and can you imagine if David Ortiz had fit into the Twins plans in some way? As For Cuddyer, I wish we had held onto him. Justin Morneau is a very interesting case of moving the salary along, but then I have to ask if he was one we gave up on too quickly. Oh, and look. He just won the batting title in this year’s National League.

I have said it before: I am a Twins fan. Have been since they came to Minnesota from Washington DC in 1961. Their first few years were just the fantasy that a young kid (I was pre-teen then at the oldest) and then on into the late 1960s when they had a good level of success but got beat by the Orioles in the playoffs. When I think of the Twins and the 1970s, I have a few words: both of them are ROD and CAREW. Some minor names were Butch Wynegar and Lyman Bostock. On into the 80s, and the Twins were at their worst in 1982 when there were so very many rookies on the team; guys who later made it pretty good: Brunansky, Laudner, Hrbek …. And a little guy from the Chicago projects called Pucket.

1987 was so very much fun – the first time the Twins made it to the World Series and took St. Louis to task in seven games. Wilma and I hosted friends Tammy and Rick for the broadcast of one of the games. It was during the games that our daughter regaled us happily every time Kirby Puckett did something great …of course, she was two years old at the time, so her cheering came out “KIR PUCKEE! KIR PUCKEE!! How cute is that?

And some more years of competitive baseball and then 1991 – one of the best world series of all time – Twins vs. the Atlanta (CHOP) Braves, seven games, so very exciting…. The rest of the 90s – not so good, and the loss of Kirby to Glaucoma. On into the new century and the Twins gained some time in the playoffs – and there was the year I managed to get in the lottery for playoff tickets and won, so I could get to some of the games against the Angels. I was glad to take each kid to a game – pretty dang exciting…. Later that decade, more playoffs with tickets courtesy of a fine man and brother-in-law.

But then, since 2010, the Twins have dropped off the face of competition – but I do not waver in my loyalty to the Twins. They are and will be who I follow. And they are where my baseball hopes dwell. I wish the new manager, whoever he may be, a good first year, and that the Twins can indeed turn it around.

By the way, here’s the answer to the question. How many did you get? I had ten, and had to look up two of them: I had missed Goryl and Gardner. Have you noticed how many of them were utility players who could barely hit their hat size? The only pitcher in the bunch was Ray Miller, so it is ironic that the scary closer during his day was the famous Ron Davis, he of the blown saves fame who makes this year’s closer Perkins look like a hall of famer….

Cookie Lavagetto
Sam Mele
Cal Ermer
Billy Martin
Bill Rigney
Frank Quilici
Gene Mauch
John Goryl
Billy Gardner
Ray Miller
Tom Kelly
Ron Gardenhire

And the new manager for 2015? My prediction is Terry Steinbach.