Twins unveil Kelly statue outside Target Field

Longtime manager honored as part of '87 championship celebration

July 21st, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the Twins celebrating the 30th anniversary of their first World Series title this weekend, the organization officially unveiled a statue outside of Target Field honoring long-time manager Tom Kelly, who guided them to World Series championships in '87 and '91.

Kelly, surrounded by Twins management, his players from the '87 club and his family, was on hand for the unveiling, which became the eighth legends statue at the ballpark.

"I can't thank the Twins enough," Kelly said. "I like to think these tributes, trophies or awards are the result of many, many other people. I could not begin to thank the people I need to thank for helping me along the way."

Kelly, 66, led the Twins to a club-record 1,140 regular-season wins while managing the club from Sept. 12, 1986, until 2001. He was the longest-tenured manager or coach in the major pro sports at the time of his retirement. Since retiring, his No. 10 has been retired by the club, and he also has been inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame.

"The Twins honoring TK with the statue is the right thing," said Twins manager Paul Molitor, who both played under and coached under Kelly. "Personally, I'm someone who is indebted to T.K. for what he did for me as a manager. I was able to coach with him and be around him for the past few decades. He had probably as big of an influence on this organization, especially the championships, as anyone you can think of."

Kelly, though, deflected the credit for his success to the players, and said he's excited to have them here this weekend to be honored with a pregame ceremony before Saturday's game against the Tigers.

"The players are the ones who got the job done," Kelly said. "For all of us in Minnesota and the upper Midwest, this team here in '87, who we're honoring this weekend, they're the team that got the monkey off the back of the state of Minnesota by winning that World Series. I was just riding their coattails because they got the job done."

Kelly joins Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Calvin Griffith, Carl and Eloise Pohlad, Tony Oliva, and Kent Hrbek as those with statues outside the ballpark. Minnesota artist Bill Mack created all eight statues.

"This one is unique compared to the other ones because the others froze a specific moment in time," Mack said. "But with Tom, he was here for 15 years, so this kind of represents his whole career from the beginning to the end. With the 30th anniversary, we picked a young Tom Kelly."