Ron Gardenhire was one of six managers hired this offseason — taking over the Detroit Tigers — and the veteran big league skipper is the outlier in the group. At the age of 60, and having managed 2,107 regular-season MLB games and guiding the Twins to six division titles in 13 years, he’s the only one of the six managers hired since season’s end to have ever managed a big league game.
He is also the graybeard of the six. Dave Martinez, 53, is the only other one of the six who will be older than 45 on Opening Day. Aaron Boone of the Yankees turns 45 on March 9. Mickey Callaway of the Mets turns 43 on May 13. Alex Cora of the Red Sox and Gabe Kapler of the Phillies are 42.
The last time Gardenhire was hired to manage, he was promoted after 11 years as the Twins’ third-base coach to replace Tom Kelly for the 2002 season, and the buzz in baseball was the hiring of an unproven manager.
This offseason, not only did five of the six teams hiring a manager opt for one with no big league experience, but Kapler — who managed Greenville in the Class A South Atlantic League for the Red Sox in a 2007 break in his playing career — is the only one of the other five who even managed in the Minor Leagues.