July 13, 2024

There were moments at TwinsFest this weekend when Tom Kelly, Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor were in the same room waiting for their next assignment.

They have 30 years of Twins managerial history among them. Current skipper Rocco Baldelli might have been there, too — if that happened, they treated one another like good friends. They also have 2,888 wins with the Twins among them.

“All those guys have been there, reached out and have helped me in a lot of different ways,” Baldelli said. “And [helped] other people in our front office and coaching staff.”

Kelly left on his own terms after the 2001 season. Gardenhire was fired in 2014. Molitor was booted after the 2018 season. But when you’ve held these roles with the Twins, getting fired apparently means … don’t lose their number.

Kelly, 73, was a special spring training instructor and visited the Twins’ minor league clubs for a few seasons after stepping down. He still comes around, even though he had Terry Ryan as a GM and not Derek Falvey.

Gardenhire, 66, went on to manage Detroit for two-plus seasons before stepping down because of health concerns during the 2020 season. A year later, he was visiting the Twins clubhouse after games. He said upon his departure after the 2014 season that he would remain a Twins fan and has backed that up.

Molitor, 67, has been a special spring training instructor since being let go but also has worked with minor leaguers and coaches.

When he talks about baserunning techniques and tactics, everyone comes away feeling smarter. Falvey, the Twins president of baseball operations, said firing Molitor was the toughest conversation he’s had in sports.

But Falvey always envisioned a way Molitor could help in the future, and Molitor has been able to stay connected with the organization he rooted for as a kid.

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