The Twins have commissioned a bronze statue in honor of former manager Tom Kelly, per a team announcement during TwinsFest on Friday. The statue will be unveiled and officially dedicated sometime during the 2017 season, and will join other notable Twins figures outside Target Field, including Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, Carl Pohlad, Eloise Pohlad, Calvin Griffith, Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew and Kent Hrbek. It’s the latest of several ways the Twins have honored Kelly over the last 15 years, from his induction into the Twins’ Hall of Fame in 2002 to the retirement of his #10 jersey number in 2012.
Twins president Dave St. Peter convinced Kelly to accept the statue in recognition of his integral role on the team in the 1980s and 90s. From MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger:
The Minnesota Twins are excited to have this opportunity to further celebrate and recognize the incredible career of the one and only Tom Kelly,” St. Peter said. “Tom’s contributions to the Twins organization and the Upper Midwest baseball community are quite significant. This statue will help memorialize Tom’s greatness and ensure future generations are aware of the T.K. story.
The statue will be cast in bronze and designed by artist Bill Mack. The uniform design will stand out from the other seven statues, at Kelly’s request.
They picked one out, and I think I’m standing with my fungo,” Kelly said. “The big discussion is about the uniform. The rest of the statues have ‘Twins’ [across the jersey], but I kind of like the pinstriped uniforms with the ‘M’ hat and Minnesota.
Kelly was the last Twins manager to lead the club to a World Series championship. Over 16 years, he established a 1,140-1,244 record and guided the team through two postseason runs, both of which ended with World Series rings. His first title in 1987 made him the youngest manager to reach the ALCS and the fifth rookie manager to win a championship title. After leading the Twins through another championship run in 1991, the follow-up to a 95-67 regular season, Kelly was honored with his first and only AL Manager of the Year award. He remains the winningest and longest-tenured manager in Twins’ history.