10's off the market; Twins will retire Kelly's number

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly will have his No. 10 retired, which will make him the seventh member of the organization to receive the honor.

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Former Twins manager Tom Kelly

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Former Twins manager Tom Kelly will have his No. 10 retired, which will make him the seventh member of the organization to receive the honor.

The announcement was made at the end of the annual Diamond Awards banquet, which was held Thursday at Target Field.

"Tom Kelly has perhaps been more instrumental than any other single individual to the success of this franchise over the past 25 years," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. "The retirement of his No. 10 celebrates his greatness as a manager, loyalty to the organization and commitment to doing things the right way."

Kelly will join Harmon Killebrew (3), Rod Carew (29), Tony Oliva (6), Kent Hrbek (14), Kirby Puckett (34) and Bert Blyleven (28) as Twins who have had their numbers hung from the Captain's Deck in the left-field corner of Target Field. Jackie Robinson's No. 42, which has been retired throughout baseball, also hangs there.

Kelly managed the Twins from 1986 to 2001, compiling a record of 1,140-1,244 and leading the club to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991. Puckett and Hrbek starred on those teams.

The talent -- and payroll -- dried up on Kelly in the mid- to late 1990s, but several young players, such as Torii Hunter, A. J. Pierzynski, Jacque Jones and Eric Milton, broke in under Kelly and helped form the nucleus of the team that won the 2002 AL Central title -- the first season after Kelly stepped down as manager.

Since stepping aside, Kelly has remained active within the organization, working as special instructor during spring training, evaluating the farm system and serving as a special assistant to the general manager. Kelly also was a fill-in TV analyst for selected Twins games last season, drawing praise for how he articulated the game.

Current Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has leaned on Kelly for advice throughout his tenure -- and said during a recent winter caravan stop that he spent extensive time this offseason talking with Kelly to come up with ways to turn things around following a 99-loss season.

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