Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/26/12
MINNEAPOLIS Tom Kelly didn't see it coming.The former manager of the Minnesota Twins had just finished presenting the final award at Thursday night's annual Diamond Awards at Target Field. But Kelly was asked to stay on stage as team president Dave St. Peter and CEO Jim Pohlad had a special announcement.No member of the Minnesota Twins will wear Kelly's No. 10 again. The team announced Thursday that it will retire Kelly's number during a pregame ceremony on Sept. 8 as part of "Tom Kelly Day." Kelly received a standing ovation from the crowd when the announcement was made, but was filled with emotion and had to leave the stage before he could say anything."A total ambush," Kelly said after the night's festivities. "We used to say in the dugout when we were behind, Let's see if we can ambush somebody here in the late innings.' That's what I call an ambush. I was not ready."Kelly, the skipper who led the Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, will be the seventh person in the Twins organization to have his number retired. The 61-year-old Kelly spent his entire 16-year managerial career with Minnesota, with an overall record of 1,140-1,244. He's been a part of the Twins organization for 41 years.Kelly took over as manager late in the 1986 season after then-manager Ray Miller was fired following a 59-80 start. Kelly and the Twins finished out the year with a 12-11 record, and his first full season at the helm the following year was a special one.Minnesota finished the regular season 85-77, good enough for first place in the American League West. The Twins then went on to beat the Detroit Tigers in five games in the AL Championship Series before defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven-game World Series.Four years later, Kelly and the Twins were back in the World Series after a 95-win regular season in 1991. In what is regarded as one of the best World Series ever played, Minnesota beat the Atlanta Braves in a memorable Game 7 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis to claim its second world championship.Still, while Kelly was at the helm for the only two World Series in team history, he deflects much of the credit."All that is a result of having wonderful players over the years," Kelly said. "Believe me. I know that none of the accolades or trophies that a manager gets, there's only one reason he has good players. I was very fortunate to have a number of very, very good players and I appreciate that very much."Kelly's brief major league playing career was also with Minnesota; he appeared in 49 games with the Twins in 1975 as a first baseman and outfielder. Kelly batted .181 with 11 RBI and one homer in 127 career at-bats.The Twins' previously retired numbers were worn by Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Puckett (No. 34) and Bert Blyleven, whose No. 28 was retired last season, the same year he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.Now, Kelly will join that select group when the Twins hang his No. 10 among the other retired numbers in left field."The Twins are a loyal bunch. If you're loyal to them and work for them, they're loyal to you," Kelly said. "I've been here 41 years. I've worked hard for them and they gave me an opportunity to work. I appreciate that very much." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
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