With the Twins free-falling their way to a third straight 90-loss season the speculation about longtime manager Ron Gardenhire’s job security is starting to simmer a little bit here in Minnesota.
It has happened eight times since 1945:
Larry Rothschild Rays 1998-2000 Felipe Alou Expos 1998-2000 Tom Kelly Twins 1997-2000 Joe Torre Mets 1978-1980 Darrell Johnson Mariners 1977-1979 Preston Gomez Padres 1969-1971 Casey Stengel Mets 1962-1964 Zack Taylor Browns 1948-1951
Some other interesting tidbits from Pomrenke (who you should follow on Twitter, where he goes by @BuckWeaver): Four of the eight managers who kept their jobs after three straight 90-loss seasons were from expansion teams, so obviously tons of losing was expected/accepted. And five of the eight managers who stuck around after three straight 90-loss seasons were fired by the middle of the next year.
And of course as a Twins fan Tom Kelly’s tenure is most familiar to me, as well as being most relevant to Gardenhire. Kelly managed the Twins to four consecutive 90-loss seasons from 1997-2000 and then went 85-77 in 2001, at which point he stepped down from the job and retired at age 50. Gardenhire replaced him.
All of which is a long way of saying that if the Twins lose 90 games again this season and Gardenhire keeps his job for 2014 he’ll be one of just a few managers since 1945 to avoid getting the boot in a comparable situation. Right now the Twins are 37-50, which is a 93-loss pace, and Gardenhire’s contract is up in 75 games.