Paul Molitor, former MLB player and current coach, has interviewed for the vacant managerial position with the Minnesota Twins. Some, including Darren Wolfson of KSTP, think he’s the frontrunner for the job. Here’s what you need to know about the situation.
1. Molitor Was a Hall of Fame Player
Paul Molitor played from 1978-1998, playing 15 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, and three with the Minnesota Twins. During those 21 years he was one of the most dominant hitters of his era. He is 10th all time in hits with 3,319 and 11th in doubles with 605, with his long career giving him the 14th most at-bats of any player in history.
Molitor also had a knack for hitting well in the biggest spotlight. Though the Brewers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982 World Series, Molitor flourished, going 11-31 and hitting .355. He managed to top himself in the 1993 World Series, going 12-24 and winning World Series MVP as the Blue Jays won in six. For all his accomplishments, Molitor was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, in his first year eligible.
2. He Has Been Considered For Twins Manager Before
Though Molitor has spent many of his post-retirement years coaching, he’s never been manager. That’s not to say that he never had the chance, however. The Twins also considered him for their last managerial opening, all the way back in 2001. After interviewing, however, he withdrew his name from the pool of candidates, citing the possibility that the team would be contracted and forced to fold. This of course didn’t happen, and in 2004 Molitor joined the Mariners’ staff as the hitting coach.
3. He Has a Rapport With Young Twins Players
Molitor spent this past season as a coach for the Twins and is a native of St. Paul, so he’s been close to the Twins organization for a long time. As a result, he’s established a bit of a rapport with some of the young players. One of those is second basemen Brian Dozier, who Molitor worked with as he transitioned from shortstop, and who had a breakout year where he competed in the Home Run Derby. Dozier had this to say about Molitor:
“He takes so much time and effort to do that one thing, to get it down 100 percent correct, to get all the information we need … whether that’s offense or defense or whatever it is,” Dozier said. “He’s probably the most knowledgeable guy about the game of baseball I’ve ever been around.”
That’s the kind of high praise that the Twins want to hear about a potential manager.
4. The Twins Haven’t Had to Change Managers in 12 Years
Not only did the Twins not fold in 2001, but under manager Ron Gardenhire the Twins blossomed, winning six AL Central division titles in nine years. Times have not been as good for Minnesota, though, and after four consecutive seasons with 90 or more losses, the Twins organization fired Gardenhire, hoping some new blood can reignite the franchise.
5. Other Candidates Are Still Being Considered
The race for Twins manager is still far from over. The front office is still considering several other candidates, including Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing, and former Gold Glove winning Twins first basemen Doug Mientkiewicz. Mientkiewicz currently manages the Twins’ Class A team the Fort Myers Miracle, who won the FSL Championship this year. The Twins still haven’t decided yet. Still, we now know there’s a distinct possibility of Molitor being the second (Ryne Sandberg being the first) Hall of Fame player to be managing an MLB team in 2015.