Frank Quilici, a player, coach, manager and broadcaster for the Twins over three decades, died Monday because of kidney disease at his home in Burnsville. He turned 79 on Friday, and had been in hospice care.
The Twins released a statement during Monday night's 1-0 loss to the Mariners that read, in part, "Frank not only exemplified professionalism … he also served as a community leader in the Twin Cities working to make sure youth had recreational opportunities and contributed to many other charitable causes. The club, like many of his friends throughout the game, is thinking of the Quilici family during this difficult time."
Quilici had a 280-287 record as Twins manager from 1972 to '75. He played on the Twins' World Series team in 1965, and was also with them from 1967 to '70 as an infielder. After retiring as a player, he became a coach on Bill Rigney's staff in 1971, and was promoted to manager at age 33 when Rigney was fired in July 1972. Quilici was fired after the 1975 season and later worked as a commentator on the team's radio broadcasts.
In 405 major league games, all with the Twins, Quilici hit .214 with five home runs.
"Few individuals have impacted the Twins organization more — or in as many ways — as the great Frank Quilici," Twins President Dave St. Peter wrote on Twitter. "As a player, coach, manager and broadcaster, Frank's love for the Twins and this community was always on display. RIP Frank."
Said manager Paul Molitor: "He's been around Twins alumni events forever. I know he's had his battles. He did a lot for this organization, he was a good ambassador."
Quilici was born May 11, 1939, in Chicago. He was an All-America shortstop at Western Michigan, where he played on two College World Series teams. He signed with the Twins for a $15,000 bonus in 1961 and worked his way up before his major league debut in July 1965 at age 26.
In the 1965 World Series vs. the Dodgers, he started every game at second base for an injured Jerry Kindall, getting two hits in a six-run third inning against future Hall of Famer Don Drysdale in Game 1. Quilici finished the seven-game Series with four hits in 20 at-bats.
Quilici spent the 1966 season at Class AAA Denver before making the Twins again in 1967 as a backup at second base to rookie Rod Carew. The Twins won the AL West with Quilici on the team in 1969 and 1970.
When Rigney was fired by owner Calvin Griffith on July 5, 1972, Quilici took over, finishing the 1972 season 41-43. He managed through 1975, when he was replaced by Gene Mauch.
Quilici worked on Twins radio broadcasts with Herb Carneal in 1976-77, 1980-82 and 1987. Following that, he worked at Western Diversified, a company that works with car dealers.
Quilici, who had a kidney transplant in 2012, was honored with the Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service in 2013 for his passion in promoting organ donorship among being involved in a number of other charitable causes. He was a former member of the board of directors of the Twins Community Fund and former President of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.
He is survived by four children and his third wife, Lila.