GM Terry Ryan rewards loyalty with allegiance

  • Article by: JIMSOUHAN
  • Updated: April 1, 2012 - 6:33 PM

Terry Ryan's story is one of perseverance and loyalty, and it is not a story that began when he agreed to become the Twins' general manager for a second time last winter. It's a story borne of struggles, a story that easily could have ended before it started.

Before Ryan became a perennial executive of the year candidate, he nearly lost his job. Under his watch, the Twins posted losing records from 1995 to 2000. The Pohlad family believed in his body of work and his character and kept him on the job when few organizations would have exhibited such patience.

Ryan rewarded the Pohlads by building a winner, and he rewarded their loyalty with his own.

When the Twins faced contraction in the winter of 2000-01, the Toronto Blue Jays offered Ryan their general manager position. Not knowing whether he would have a job or a franchise the following year, Ryan refused to even interview.

As the Twins became known as a model franchise, Ryan received more feelers from other teams, teams that could offer greater resources and more money. He never interviewed for another job. And after leaving his post with the Twins to spend more time with his family, Ryan received more feelers and again refused to bite.

Ryan is the rare high-profile figure in professional sports who can say with a straight face that he is about more than the money. He is the rare person in professional sports for whom loyalty is not defined by contract language but by a standard dictionary.

"There were some jobs that I think people considered me for," Ryan said. "But I don't know if the jobs were mine if I wanted them. It might have gotten to that point, but when the subject came up I didn't let it get very far.

"It's not that I was afraid of the opportunity. It was that I had my roots in this organization, and I had my roots in the state of Minnesota, with my wife and kids. I never had the desire to leave the Twins.

"I've always been treated well here, not only by the organization but by the fan base. Our organization went through some tough times. I always felt a loyalty to the people who were good to me even when we were struggling. I always had the feeling that I pretty much belong here with the Twins."

After Tom Kelly retired as manager, he, too, could have cashed in on his reputation by taking over a big-money team. Kelly and Ryan, who possess immense admiration for each other, even could have marketed themselves as a duo.

Both played in the Twins organization, and neither ever expressed a desire to work elsewhere.

"I know Tom put it very succinctly not too long ago: 'If you're loyal to these people, they're loyal to you,'" Ryan said. "We've got it pretty good here. Talk about the grass being greener on the other side, well, I'm not sure it is. I don't know if it can get any better.

"We've got a brand-new stadium, plenty of payroll, strong revenues, a system in our farm system that I believe in.

"You know, Tom accomplished a lot. I have not. Tom won two World Series. I have not gotten this franchise to one. I know he's had many opportunities to work elsewhere, and he has turned them down. That's kind of the way things work around here."

Ryan's humility rivals his loyalty. How many sports executives would point out flaws in their own résumé?

"When this job opened up again, I took it, feeling like I'm much more prepared to do it this time," Ryan said. "The experiences I went through in the '90s taught me a lot.

"I'd like to take this team to the World Series. I don't know how long I'm going to do this job, but right now I feel really good about this organization. We went through a horrible year last year, but this thing certainly isn't broken. I want to prove that."

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
7:05 PM ET123456789RHE
MinnesotaK. Gibson (11-10)000
BaltimoreC. Tillman (11-5)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Top 2nd Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront 1:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Masterson
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 3rd Qtr
UAB 24
(7) UCLA 21 3rd Qtr
Virginia 10
Western Mich 14 2nd Qtr 1:56
Purdue 20
(5) Ohio State 6 3rd Qtr
Navy 7
Appalachian St 0 3rd Qtr
Michigan 35
Ga Southern 10 2nd Qtr 5:45
NC State 3
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close