When I was a kid, Paul Molitor was my favorite baseball player, bar none. The Ignitor is still one of my all-time favorite players. He’s on that list with Greg Maddux and Ben Sheets (who the only reason to watch the Brewers for several years).
The Twins announced Monday that they had offered, and Molitor had accepted, a three-year deal to take the reigns of the floundering team, coming off four straight seasons losing 90 or more games.
Molitor was a coach for the Twins last season, and spent the previous decade as a special hitting instructor for the Twins minor league system.
Molitor, a Hall of Fame Player, will be just the third Twins manager since 1986. Tom Kelly led the Twins from 1986-2001 and earned two World Series wins. Rod Gardenhire skippered the team from 2002-2014.
I was devastated on December 7, 1992, when Molitor signed with the Toronto Blue Jays after Brewers General Manager Sal Bando said Molitor was “only a DH.” I was 11 years old, but that was plenty old enough to know that Bando was making a terrible decision.
Molitor was named the World Series MVP in 1993 after knocking two doubles, two triples and two home runs en route to a .500 batting average in the six-game series win over the Braves.
Unfortunately for The Ignitor, unless the Twins see an influx of talent there isn’t much he can do to help the franchise. As Dave Campbell pointed out in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Twins ranked 29th, 28th, 29th, and 29th in the majors in team ERA over the last four years.
The Twins as a staff threw exactly one pitch at or above 97 miles per hour this season, and they were dead last in baseball in strike outs by their pitching staff. The Twins have a pitch-to-contact organizational philosophy and it isn’t working.
I’m thrilled that Molitor has the desire to be a big league manager, and will be right across the border in the Twin Cities, but I wish I had any faith in the Twins organization to give him the players necessary to actually win ball games.