Terry Ryan: The first time around

  • Updated: November 8, 2011 - 6:39 AM

BACKGROUND

The Janesville, Wis., native was a pitcher taken by the Twins in the 35th round of the 1972 draft, but he had to retire in 1974 because of arm problems. Ryan graduated from Wisconsin in 1979, joined the Mets as Midwest scouting supervisor in 1980 and joined the Twins as scouting director in 1986. He was named Twins director of player personnel in 1991, then became general manager in September 1994 when Andy MacPhail left for the Cubs. Ryan's first six teams were among the worst in baseball, but the Twins also had one of the lowest payrolls. He was the architect of a team that won four division titles in a five-year span beginning in 2002, but he stepped down in September 2007, citing burnout.

WORTH REMEMBERING

• Ryan's trade of All-Star Chuck Knoblauch to the Yankees before the 1998 season yielded four players, including lefthander Eric Milton and shortstop Cristian Guzman, who became All-Stars with the Twins. The deal was considered a major part of the Twins' successful rebuilding process.

• The Knoblauch trade was an early example of Ryan's skill in dealing veterans for young players. Another was when he acquired David Ortiz from Seattle in a 1996 deal for Dave Hollins. His best trade might have come in 2003, when he sent A.J. Pierzynski to the Giants for Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan -- while also clearing the way at catcher for Joe Mauer.

• With the Twins offered up for contraction in November 2001 by late owner Carl Pohlad, Ryan turned down an offer to become GM of the Blue Jays and stopped a potential mass exodus from the Twins front office.

BEST FORGOTTEN

• He was criticized for failing to make any meaningful moves for offensive help at the trade deadline in 2005 and 2007; the Twins failed to make the playoffs either season.

• He didn't tender a contract to Ortiz after the 2002 season, and the slugger subsequently developed into one of baseball's biggest stars after signing with the Red Sox.

• Most of his free-agent signings his last two seasons were flops, notably Tony Batista, Ruben Sierra and Rondell White in 2006 and Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson and White in '07.

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