Former Twins manager Cal Ermer died Saturday in his sleep at his home in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Ermer, who managed the Twins in 1967 and '68, was 85.

Ermer replaced the fired Sam Mele in June 1967 with the Twins in sixth place with a 25-25 record. The Twins went 66-46 the rest of the season but lost the American League pennant on the final day of the season.

Ermer was fired after the Twins finished in seventh place in 1968 with a 79-83 record.

After managing the Twins' Class AAA team (in Tacoma and Toledo) from 1974 to 1984, he scouted for the Twins.

"When I was a player, if you played hard for Cal, he wrote your name down in the lineup," said former Twins manager Tom Kelly, who played for Ermer in the Twins farm system in the 1970s. "He liked players that played hard, slid hard and played the game the right way. I always appreciated that.

"Then, when I started managing in the instructional league, we would ride together to the ballpark each day in Clearwater. I would pick his brain all the time about managing and different thoughts about players. I got a good education on managing from Cal. Cal was a sharp guy. He really loved the game of baseball."

While playing for the New York Mets' Class AAA Tidewater farm team in the early 1980s, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire played against Ermer-managed teams.

"One of the best baseball storytellers ever," Gardenhire said. "He was a baseball man, in the purest way. Loved baseball, his whole life was baseball, but his baseball stories were wonderful."

Ermer, who was born in Baltimore on Nov. 10, 1923, played in the minor leagues for seven seasons and appeared in one game with the Washington Senators in 1947. He managed the Chattanooga Lookouts from 1952 to '57.

Staff writer Joe Christensen contributed to this report.