It's been an emotional day for the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla., as Minor League Director Jim Rantz announced this morning at the team's organizational meetings that he is retiring after 52 years with the team.

"You talk about a face of a franchise," General Manager Terry 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 Gardy. He was part of hiring Billy [Smith]. He was part of hiring me and almost all of our major league coaches and managers and trainers."

Rantz 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 the team's 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. He knows all of our players. He knows all of our staff. There’s a lot of positives Brad does present."

Rantz, 75, said he told Ryan and Smith one year ago that 2012 would be his final year as minor-league director.

"The reason we announced it now is we’ve got the org meeting, so all the field people are here, all our scouts are here, and we have about 85 people here," Rantz said. "It’s time to enjoy the family and the grandkids and see how the summers go without baseball every day."

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