Miller: Will new Twins manager Molitor make a difference on the field?

From Phil Miller at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on November 6, 2014, with mention of SABR member Chris Jaffe:

Jack Morris played for Sparky Anderson, one of the greatest managers in baseball history, for 12 years of his 18-year pitching career. He watched Anderson, who won three World Series and whose 2,194 victories ranked third all-time when he retired in 1995, up close, and one day learned the secret to baseball success from the master himself.

“I’m smiling at the [memory],” Morris said, “because Sparky always said: You win because of the players.”

Simple enough. But if that’s the case, it’s worth asking in the wake of the Twins’ hiring of Paul Molitor on Wednesday: So what? Does the identity of the manager, does the change from Ron Gardenhire to the Hall of Fame hitter, make any difference?

“Quite a bit,” General Manager Terry Ryan said after handing a team that has averaged 96 losses for the past four years over to the St. Paul native. “Quite a bit. Culture, direction, [being on the] same page, relationships — all that stuff, a manager has the ability to affect.”

Certainly the man who is paying Molitor to turn the Twins around expects him to make a major impact, and not just in the won-lost record.

“I do expect to see a lot of change, and I would say it will be noticeable to the average fan. I would expect that with virtually any new manager,” Twins owner Jim Pohlad said. “Paul was an exciting, smart, aggressive player, and I think he can bring a lot of those aspects to the way the teams plays on the field.”

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Originally published: November 6, 2014. Last Updated: November 6, 2014.