When he was a fringe player with the Mets in the early 1980s, Ron Gardenhire never projected as a successful big league manager. He was a low key individual, far from the somewhat feisty reputation he has gained in managing the Twins.
What has followed Gardenhire, who turns 53 Oct. 24, is that near-miss status. His last year with the Mets was in 1985, they won the World Series in 1986.
Gardenhire finished second five times in balloting for AL manager of the year. He has six division titles in nine seasons, but has not made it past the ALDS. He was the third base coach on the 1991 world champion Twins.
Now, there's another opportunity as his team prepares to play the Yankees.
The Mets never knew what they had in their injury-prone .232 hitting infielder.