Monday, December 21, 2009

The Ron Gardenhire Project (Introduction)

Ron Gardenhire has been manager of the Minnesota Twins for eight seasons.

He has a 709-588 regular-season record in that period, a .547 winning percentage, with five division titles. He also has a 6-18 record in the playoffs, with one series win in six series.

Tony LaRussa's career winning percentage is lower than Gardenhire's. So is Joe Torre's, and Sparky Anderson's, and Whitey Herzog's, and quite a few other Hall of Fame managers.

Of course, La Russa's won a couple of World Series, and Torre's won four, and Sparky's got three titles to his credit ... Gardy hasn't gotten there.

Back in the mid '80s, Bill James drew up a series of objective questions about a manager. Who is he? Does he bunt a lot? Does he prefer gloves over bats or vice versa? Does he go to his bullpen quickly? Does he platoon? How does he use his bench?

I've long wanted to apply the form to the Twins managers — first Tom Kelly, now Gardenhire — but the form is long, far too long to work in the print column, which was for years the only forum I had.

This being traditionally a slow week in baseball news, I've put some time in on what I've come to regard as the Ron Gardenhire Project, and I'll put some more in. In a couple of days I expect to post the results.


  1. This sounds really interesting. Too bad we have to wait to see the entire series!

  2. I'm surprised that his winning percentage is that good. I wish I could shake the nagging feeling that he should have achieved more considering the talent with which he's been surrounded. I do wish he'd platoon more and jettison his penchant to love hustling, offensive-hole middle infielders and quit burning out his bullpen.