I wasn't sure the man in the black suit and dress shoes was former Twins manager Tom Kelly.
We're all more accustomed to seeing him in a baseball uniform. But the suit-and-tie Kelly was at David Horsager's book signing for "The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line." Kelly was one of the "trusted Minnesota All Stars" and draws to Horsager's event.
The man who brought two World Series champions to Minnesota, in 1987 and 1991, stepped away from his book appearance duties to talk with me, and for that I am deeply appreciative.
Q Name the players, by position, who would be on Tom Kelly's All Time All Star team?
A This is a very difficult question. I guess we'd have to have Hrbek at first base. And of course the great late Kirby Puckett in center field. Of course, I don't want Gladden getting mad at me, so I have to use him somewhere. St. Paul's own Paul Molitor; he can do whatever he wants to do, that'd be fine with me. We'd have to certainly have St. Paul's own Jack Morris on the mound. Just a few off the top of my head.
Q Is coaching coaching, regardless of the sport? Do you think you could coach, for example, football?
A No. I don't know enough about the game. In all the other sports, there are a lot of geniuses out there [who] know a lot about all the sports. I have a hard time understanding how they do those so much. Again, I've always had enough trouble with the one.
Q How do you feel about being considered intimidating?
A I hate to think I have that tag. I don't like that at all. I think once you get to know me, you think I'm probably a pretty good guy.
Q Have you ever pulled a practical joke on anybody?
A You know, I can't think [of one] right now but probably so. But I know I've had them pulled on me. The biggest culprit was Bert Blyleven. He got me real good one day at the Metrodome.
Q Does the face on the Kirby Puckett statue look like him to you?
A I guess. ... [Puck was] somebody [who] was very special to me, personally, as well as our community and our ball club and Major League Baseball in general. It's an honor to have a statue. Kirby deserves that. It sure does look like him to me.
Q I think the Hrbek one looks like Kent, but the Kirby statue doesn't look like him.
A I wouldn't argue.
Q At the end of the game, when the dugout is littered with sunflower seeds, a chew spit, did you ever look around and think: This is disgusting?
A No, I didn't think that. But it is.
Q If I could grant you the wish of being a superstar in any sport you choose, which one would it be?
A Probably going to be baseball, of course. I would hopefully come back as Babe Ruth.
Q Which athlete's physique would you like to have in another life?
A Not Babe Ruth's, for sure. Boy, wouldn't you like to have Michael Jordan's? Sort of step into his shoes. That'd be pretty good.
Q What do you miss most about Dark Star?
A "Shining Star above your car on the big 8-3-0." He was really fun to be around. He was quick-witted. He could crack a joke or smart remarks, and that was right up my alley.
Interviews are edited for space and clarity. C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9.