Kelly humbled by number retirement ceremony
SEP 06, 2012 5:00a ET
Nine months later, Kelly remains humble about the honor, which will be bestowed upon him on Saturday at Target Field. Prior to Minnesota's game against the Cleveland Indians, Kelly's No. 10 will join that of six other retired Twins numbers and Jackie Robinson's No. 42, which all hang on a façade in the left field corner.
"I hope we get through it in one piece," Kelly said. "I'm not quite sure if it belongs up there with some of those players. Some of those players up there are awful, awful impressive players in the Twins organization and of course Jackie Robinson's number is up there as well. I just hope somebody thinks I'm worthy of that, but I'm not sure. It's quite an honor."
Kelly led the Twins to their only two World Series titles in 1987 and 1991. The 1987 World Series came in Kelly's first full season at the helm -- he took over as manager on Sept. 12, 1986.
In 16 seasons as manager, Kelly finished with a record of 1,140-1,244. He retired after the 2001 season and was succeeded by current Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. Kelly has been a part of the Twins' organization for more than 40 years.
"Few, if any individuals have had as much direct impact on the success of the Twins franchise as Tom Kelly," Twins owner and CEO Jim Pohlad said in a statement. "Over a 41-year career with the Twins organization, Tom has helped ensure high standards on and off the field and has always demonstrated the utmost respect for the game. It is our honor to celebrate Tom's remarkable career by forever retiring his famed No. 10."
Along with retiring Kelly's No. 10, the Twins will also be giving away 10,000 commemorative mini-oars, featuring a quote Kelly made famous during his tenure: "We're all in this boat together. Everybody grab an oar."
"It's just something we would say on occasion, trying to get everybody involved and feel like they're part of the team," Kelly said. "Over the years, you come up with a phrase or two here and there. That's one that sort of stuck a little bit."
Saturday's festivities will begin at approximately 5:45 p.m. and will be emceed by former Twins radio voice John Gordon. Among those speaking at the event will be Gardenhire, Pohlad, former Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek and Andy MacPhail, the team's general manager during its two World Series titles. Several of Kelly's former players will also be in attendance.
Kelly remains humble about having his No. 10 retired, but Saturday's pregame ceremony will be all about the man who brought two World Series trophies to Minnesota.
"It's a big deal for a lot of people. Gardy had mentioned to me, he said, 'Tom, this is really a big deal,'" Kelly said. "I always have my reservations about these things because I always think the game's so much about the players and not so much managers and coaches and umpires and sports writers. It's about the players. So I'm having a hard time letting that sink in.
"We're going to hopefully get to that point by Saturday. I guess it's going to hit me between the eyes, that's for sure.
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