Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire has announced his retirement from professional baseball, effective immediately. Bench coach Lloyd McClendon will manage the team for the remainder of the 2020 season.
The 62-year-old Gardenhire managed in the major leagues for 16 seasons, the past three with the Tigers. He went 1068-1039, most of those wins coming with the Minnesota Twins. His Twins clubs won six division titles between 2002 and 2010, and finished with a winning record in eight of his first nine seasons. In his three years with Detroit, the Tigers went 132-241.
Gardenhire’s managerial career came after a modest five-year career as a player, all with the New York Mets in the early 1980s. He played across the infield for the Mets, and hit .232/.277/.296 in 285 career games. He spent a couple more years in the minor leagues as a player before he became a manager in the Twins farm system. After three years with a couple of their minor league affiliates, he joined the major league staff under Tom Kelly, where he stayed until he was promoted following Kelly’s retirement in 2001.
After the Twins’ heyday under Gardenhire in the 2000s, the franchise fell on hard times. Four consecutive losing seasons from 2011 to 2014 cost Gardenhire his job. He worked as a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but took a leave of absence in 2017 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Gardenhire cited his health as one reason for his retirement on Saturday, noting that he has not been feeling well physically lately.
We will discuss potential replacements for Gardenhire as Tigers manager at a later date.