Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire entered exclusive company on Saturday when he notched his 1,000th career victory in the team's 7-3 win over the Cleveland Indians. Gardenhire becomes only the 60th manager in MLB history to reach that plateau, which speaks to his longevity and consistency in the dugout. He's also only the 10th manager to reach the milestone with the same team, joining his Twins predecessor Tom Kelly (1,140) on that even more exclusive list.
Which is more difficult to believe: That the Twins have shown enough patience to stick with back-to-back managers for 16 and 13 seasons respectively, or that Tom Kelly has been out of the game since 2001? Time sure does fly.
The other managers on the same-team list include Mike Scioscia, Connie Mack, John McGraw, Walter Alston, Tommy Lasorda, Earl Weaver, Danny Murtaugh and Red Schoendienst.
Make that elite company.
Taking a deeper look at Gardenhire's run:
• The Twins have won six division titles since he took over in 2001.
• He was named AL Manager of the Year in 2010 and has five second place finishes to his credit.
• His overall record is 1,000-950, good for a winning percentage of .513. That ranks 41st among the 1,000-game winners.
• Unfortunately, his lack of postseason success — five LDS losses and a 6-21 mark overall — puts him as one of only eight on the list to never win a pennant.
A lot of good, some results he'd probably like to change, but overall there's a lot of reason to celebrate his achievement. And his players were ready to help him enjoy that celebration.
Love those shirts.
The Cleveland Indians even added a congratulations in defeat.
We're sorry it had to be against us, but congrats to Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire, one of the good ones, on his 1,000th career victory!
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 5, 2014
While meeting with the media following the game, Gardenhire was in a reflective mood, reminiscing about his first career victory on April 5, 2002. On that day, outfielder Jacque Jones homered leading off the game in Kansas City.
"I do remember that because everybody said I was nuts for letting Jacque Jones lead off because he doesn't have on-base percentage," Gardenhire said. "But he can make it 1-0, that was my argument, and he did it. He did it quite a few times that year, as a matter of fact."
Ironically, shortstop Brian Dozier did the exact same thing for Gardenhire on Saturday, hitting the second pitch of the game for a 1-0 lead.
That's the type of symmetry everybody enjoys, especially the guy filling out the lineup card. But with that said, he only gets to enjoy it for an hour or two, because there's another lineup card to make on Sunday, and another 1,000 games to win.
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