The native son has returned.
St. Paul native and former Minnesota Twins star Paul Molitor will be the next manager of the Twins, the team announced officially on Monday. MLB.com reported that the deal will be for three years (through the 2017 season).
Molitor takes over the Twins as the first new manager of the club since Ron Gardenhire replaced Tom Kelly before the 2002 season. The Twins finished last in the AL Central in 2014 with a 70-92 record and haven't had a winning season since 2010. Under Gardenhire, the Twins had winning seasons ever year except one until the bottom fell out in 2011.
Molitor has never managed at any level of professional baseball, but he has plenty of coaching experience. He was the Twins' bench coach under Kelly for three years and then served as a hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners in 2004. From 2005-2013, Molitor was the Twins' minor league base-running and infield coordinator. Last season, he was an assistant coach on the Twins' big-league staff, overseeing a variety of areas and helping with in-game strategy. He also served as the team's first base coach during the final few months of the season.
Of course, Molitor is best known for his playing career, which resulted in his induction into the Hall of Fame in 2004. He was one of the first players whose primary position was designated hitter to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
After playing collegiately at the University of Minnesota, Molitor began his career with the (then AL) Milwaukee Brewers. From 1978 through 1992, Molitor played for Milwaukee. He posted a .303/.367/.444 line in 1,856 games with the Brewers. Molitor was limited by injuries early in his career and that necessitated his move to a DH role.
Before the 1993 season, Molitor signed a free agent deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. He led the league in hits that season (211) and finished second in the MVP voting. He helped the Blue Jays win their second straight World Series that year and was named the World Series MVP. That title was Molitor's only World Series ring during his career. He appeared in the World Series with Milwaukee in 1982, when the Brewers lost to St. Louis in seven games.
After three seasons with the Blue Jays, Molitor returned home to Minnesota and finished his career with the Twins. In his first season with Minnesota, he led the league in hits with 225. He retired after the 1998 season at the age of 41. Molitor had 3,319 hits and a .306 career average in 21 seasons.