Twins' Rantz says 52 years is enough

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 16, 2012 - 7:08 AM

The minor league director announced his retirement at the Twins organizational meetings.

hide

St. Paul native Jim Rantz came to the Twins franchise prior to the franchise’s arrival in the Twin Cities.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The only current Twins employee who has been with the franchise since it moved from Washington in 1961, called it a career Monday.

Jim Rantz has served with five general managers and 11 field managers, but the 75-year-old will be remembered for more than his longevity. A former minor league pitcher who climbed the front office ladder, he is credited for discovering Kirby Puckett. Under Rantz's direction, the Twins boasted a model farm system for much of the previous decade.

But after 52 years with the organization, Rantz decided that was enough.

"It's time to enjoy the family and the grandkids, and see how the summers go without baseball every day," Rantz said.

General Manager Terry Ryan said it was an emotional scene as the Twins minor league director announced his retirement at the team's organizational meetings in Fort Myers, Fla.

"You talk about a face of a franchise," Ryan said. "Even though Jim's not out there in the public view very much, inside this organization, the roots of the organization -- it is Jim. He hired [manager Ron Gardenhire]. He was part of hiring me and almost all of our major league coaches and managers and trainers."

A St. Paul native, Rantz said he is especially proud of the fact he got to spend so much time with his hometown team. He was a standout hockey and baseball player at now-defunct St. Paul Washington High School. In the 1960 College World Series, he pitched 10 innings in a 2-1 victory over Southern California, giving the Gophers the NCAA title.

He signed with the Washington Senators a few months before they announced they were leaving the nation's capital for Minnesota. After spending five seasons in the minors as a pitcher and manager, he moved into the Twins front office in 1965.

He spent four years as an assistant public relations director and 16 years as the assistant farm director under George Brophy. During the 1981 players' strike, Rantz and his wife, Pearl, took the family to watch their son, Mike, play in an Illinois collegiate league. The opposing center fielder stole the show, and Rantz wouldn't forget Puckett's three extra-base hits or his superlative defensive play that day.

The Twins signed Puckett for $25,000 in 1982. Four years later, Rantz became the team's minor league director.

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly said he used to wonder why Rantz was so patient in waiting to promote players through the system. But in working more closely with the team's minor leaguers in recent years, Kelly has seen the benefit this has on players' confidence.

"The formula seems to work," Kelly said. "Just like in anything, there are always streaks where you run hot and cold for a little bit, but you can't even count the number of players who've gone up through the system."

The Twins inducted Rantz into their Hall of Fame in 2000. He will remain with the team through Dec. 31, and Ryan said the team will choose his successor before that date.

For now, Brad Steil has been named interim farm director. Steil, 36, has been with the Twins for the past 12 years, including the past five as Rantz's top assistant overseeing the team's minor league system.

"He's a bright guy, he's been around Jim for the last eight or nine years, and he's got a pretty good presence," Ryan said. "He's got the ability to evaluate, he's certainly organized, he's got a tremendous work ethic. He knows what we're all about."

Rantz said he told Ryan and former GM Bill Smith last year that 2012 would be his final year as minor league director. He timed the announcement with the start of the organizational meetings because about 85 people who are scattered throughout the season are all together at once.

"We had a lot of laughs," Rantz said. "It turned into a roast at the end there."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
DetroitR. Porcello (15-11)000
MinnesotaR. Nolasco (5-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - C. Morton
Toronto - D. Hutchison 6:05 PM
Baltimore - U. Jimenez
Washington - T. Roark 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Miami - N. Eovaldi 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
NY Yankees - M. Pineda 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cincinnati - J. Cueto 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Houston - N. Tropeano
Detroit - R. Porcello 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 7:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
Los Angeles - D. Haren 7:40 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
San Francisco - J. Peavy 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Seattle - R. Elias 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Texas - N. Tepesch 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 9:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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