MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Twins have decided to part ways with manager Ron Gardenhire, announcing Monday that he will be replaced in 2015.
Gardenhire was not the only departure after the Twins had their fourth straight season of at least 90 losses. Twins officials said the entire coaching staff has been dismissed, as well. The Twins finished with a 70-92 record in 2014, Gardenhire’s 13th in Minnesota.
The Twins have not been to the playoffs since 2010, when they got swept by the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series. Since, the Twins lost 99 games one season, 96 games twice and 92 games this year. They’ve also finished last in the American League Central Division in three out of the last four years.
Gardenhire addressed the media in a press conference Monday afternoon.
“I’m gone, I’m out of here because we didn’t win,” Gardenhire said. “You have to win on the field and these last four years have been tough for us.”
Gardenhire was actually hired while the Twins were in limbo, getting the job when Tom Kelly stepped aside and as the franchise survived contraction.
The new manager was popular with fans and players, and was successful immediately — winning the Central Division in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
He became just the fourth manager to start his career with three-straight first-place finishes. And the team also finished first in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
They reached the American League Championship Series once in his tenure, in 2002, before losing the series 4-1 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Gardenhire was blunt yet playful when a journalist brought up his post-season record, which was 6 and 21.
“It sucks,” he said.
His lasting legacy may be as much about the tantrums as it is about the titles. Gardy had a way of expressing himself that entertained the fans — and enraged the umpires.
He was ejected a total of 72 times, by far the most in Twins history. His predecessor, Tom Kelly, was only tossed out of 5 games in 16 seasons.
General Manager Terry Ryan, who was also present at the press conference, thanked Gardenhire for his service to the organization.
“He’s a big part of the history of this franchise,” Ryan said. “He’s done the best he could with the product he’s been given.”
Ryan even became emotional at one point, saying he felt Gardenhire was more like a brother to him than a manager.
Gardenhire, who is under contract to the Twins until 2015, has been offered a position in the organization. But he says he would still like to manage elsewhere.
“I’m not done managing, I don’t think,” he said. “I want this organization to win, and you know, I’ll be rooting like everybody else.”
Gardenhire says his focus will be on his family for the time being.
“I’m gonna be a grandpa here soon … that’s the next thing on my mind,” he said.
RAW VIDEO: Twins’ Ron Gardenhire Talks About Being Fired
Ryan says the search for a new manager, internally and externally, will begin immediately. The rest of the coaching staff will then be determined by the new manager in conjunction with Ryan and President David St. Peter — who thanked Gardenhire on Twitter.
“It’s a tough day inside the Twins family. So grateful for what Ron Gardenhire has contributed – on and off the field – since joining the organization in 1987,” St. Peter said. “A ton of wins, developed many players, but it’s the way Gardy treats people that I will always remember. Ron and Carol are 100 percent class.”
It’s been more than 13 years since the last time the Twins searched for a new manager, and 28 since they fired one.