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Video of the Day: Ron Gardenhire, skinny utility infielder

Feb 24, 2011, 2:14 PM EDT

Ron Gardenhire never actually played for the Twins, spending his entire 285-game career with the Mets, but he did appear in a Twins uniform during spring training in 1987 and Edward Thoma of the Mankato Free Press discovered video evidence of him striking out against Astros right-hander Julio Solano:

In addition to simply getting a look at skinny Gardenhire, the video is great because it features announcers John Rooney and Harmon Killebrew discussing Gardenhire, Al Newman, and Ron Washington being in a three-way battle for utility infielder spot on a team that went on to win the World Series.

Newman beat out the two future managers for the gig, but then hit just .221 with a .603 OPS in 349 plate appearances despite Rooney saying “he can do a lot of things.” Gardenhire hit .272 with a .380 slugging percentage at Triple-A … and became the Twins’ manager 15 years later.

  1. cur68 - Feb 24, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Well, that was a bit of nostalgia indeed. The takeaway? Gardy can’t hit the curve ball. He shoulda slagged off Jofu between strikes. Mighta had some success then.

  2. shlomo1977 - Feb 24, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    “Hitting for Steve Lombardozzi.” I forgot Lombo was the starting second baseman for that 87 Twins.

    Was Les Straker was the #3 starter behind Viola and Blyleven?

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