Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire went out on his own terms
Ron Gardenhire leaves the Detroit Tigers with the lowest winning percentage of any manager in team history. But we shouldn’t judge him for that.
Sometimes managers get hired to oversee a team that’s ready for a playoff push. And sometimes managers are hired to instill particular habits in young players and build a culture.
In that way, Gardenhire did exactly what he was hired to do. And he should be celebrated for his effort.
Gardenhire announced his retirement on Saturday just hours before the Tigers took the field against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park.
He will not return. Instead, bench coach Lloyd McClendon will take his place for the final eight games on the schedule.
That Gardenhire stayed through most of this truncated 60-game season — despite his unease managing during a pandemic — says plenty about his dedication to his role as a teacher for this young team.
It also says he had an inkling that all the work he’d put in the first two years, all the losing he endured, was about to pay off.
It did. For a while. When the Tigers put together a couple of surprising (to us) winning streaks and hung around the wildcard race for most of the summer.
That he gave this area a reason to watch or listen to the games may be as meaningful an accomplishment as he has had in his long and successful career. Few things in sports are as gratifying as guiding a team from the bottom.
Yes, the Tigers ...
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