The Sports Xchange
The Detroit Tigers opted for experience in their managerial search and announced Friday the appointment of Ron Gardenhire to run the club with a three-year contract.
Gardenhire, who turns 60 on Tuesday, is deeply familiar with the American League Central after spending 13 seasons in the division as manager of the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota made six postseason appearances during his tenure from 2002-2014.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be named manager of the Detroit Tigers,” Gardenhire said in a statement. “After managing against the Tigers for so many years, I know first-hand what a great baseball town Detroit is and that the fans here are some of the most passionate in all of sports.
“I’m truly grateful to (owner) Christopher Ilitch and (general manager) Al Avila for entrusting me to lead the team back to competing for American League Central Division titles and to our ultimate goal of winning a World Series.”
Gardenhire recorded a 1,068-1,039 record with the Twins and is one of 10 managers in baseball history to win 1,000 or more games with a single club. He was the 2010 AL Manager of the Year and was the runner-up on five occasions.
Gardenhire joined the Twins’ coaching staff in 1991 and was promoted to manager after Tom Kelly retired following the 2001 season. He guided Minnesota to a 94-67 record in his first season and a spot in the 2002 AL Championship Series before losing to the Angels in five games.
Gardenhire’s teams posted five 90-victory campaigns during his tenure. But after a 94-68 mark in 2010, the Twins plummeted to a 63-99 record in 2011, the first of four straight seasons of 90 or more losses before he was fired following the 2014 campaign.
Gardenhire spent last season as the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He takes over a team that appears to be in rebuilding mode after trading away ace pitcher Justin Verlander, and outfielders J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton, among others, during the 2017 season.
“We are very excited to introduce Ron Gardenhire as the new manager of the Detroit Tigers,” Avila said in a statement. “After an extensive search, we are confident ‘Gardy’ is the right person to lead our ballclub in our pursuit of World Series championships. Ron has extensive managerial experience at the major league level and has a proven track record of player development.”
Gardenhire also interviewed for the Boston Red Sox opening earlier this week. He interviewed for the San Diego and Washington jobs following the 2015 season.
Gardenhire was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery in mid-April. He returned to the Diamondbacks four weeks later and has since been quoted as saying he received a clean bill of health.
Gardenhire played five major league seasons with the New York Mets from 1982-86 and batted .232 with four homers and 49 RBIs in 285 career games.