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Classic photo: Twins manager Tom Kelly smokes cigar, rocks Zubaz sweatpants during batting practice in Metrodome

Big League Stew

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(via DiamondCentric on Facebook)

You can stop looking. This is the best baseball photo you'll see today. Possibly any day. This is Tom Kelly, manager of the Minnesota Twins, circa the late 1980s, during extended batting practice inside the Metrodome. The Twins are retiring Kelly's No. 10 this weekend, probably long overdue in the wake of World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, so it's good timing.

And the photo doesn't lie; Kelly is a bit of a character. Kind of cantankerous sometimes. Doesn't suffer fools lightly. But he's also quite comfortable in his own skin. How else do you explain Zubaz sweatpants (note the official Twins logo on the hip) during working hours? How about the fat cigar (despite rules stating "there's noooooooooooo smoking" inside the Metrodome, that old gas bag)? How about that horrid Mizuno rubber/plastic shirt thing with fake turtleneck? And the look of consternation on his face, coupled with the batting practice machine that looks like an old Hollywood movie camera? He looks like Orson Welles shooting "Citizen Hrbek."

I'm not sure of the photo's origin, but I spotted it via Twitter, which led me to the Facebook account of DiamondCentric, a self-described sports bar and apparel company.

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(Getty Images)

Why did Kelly get out of managing 12 years ago at age 50? He already had won a couple of World Series, and he always struck me as a guy who didn't like all of the baloney that goes with being a pawn for players and ownership. Kelly has been quoted as saying that he "took baseball very personally." There's only so much you can give before there's nothing left for yourself. And, as you can tell from — even a photo — he's got a personality worth preserving.

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