Saturday, January 28, 2017

End of an era

The Twins announced Friday that they have commissioned a Target Field statue of former manager Tom Kelly. This may be the grouch in me speaking, but someday they will have the plaza so cluttered with bronze sculptures that it will be impossible to get to the park.

More significant, truly, is another item about TK: He's not going to take part in spring training this year. He says his knees and Achilles were hurting last year, and he's pulling back. He was there last spring after recovering from a stroke, so the health issues are presumably mounting.

Kelly's 66 now, which seems astounding to those of us who remember when he was hired as the Twins manager in 1986. He was 35 then, and younger than three pitchers on his 1987 squad (Bert Blyleven, Joe Niekro and Steve Carlton). But time marches on.

I go to Fort Myers in even-numbered years, so I won't be there, but I know habitual attendees of camp will notice the absence of Kelly and his fungo bat. Major league side or minor league side, he's been an ever-present teacher and presence.

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