Ron Gardenhire: More than a manager

September 28th, 2020

This past weekend Ron Gardenhire announced his retirement from baseball. Gardy was named the 38th manager in Tigers history on Oct. 20, 2017, and for the past three seasons, served as a leader both on and off the field for the players and coaches that donned the Olde English ‘D.’

“On behalf of all of us with the Detroit Tigers, congratulations to Ron Gardenhire on a tremendous managerial career,” said Detroit Tigers chairman and chief executive officer Christopher Ilitch. “One of the best baseball men around, we’re fortunate to have had Gardy lead our team for the past three seasons, and during this rebuilding period. He has done a great job in shaping the future successes I know our organization will see”

His 16-year managerial career, coupled with 1,200 career-wins, made Gardenhire one of the most successful and best to ever do it.

“His leadership and hard work over three seasons with our ballclub moved us towards our goal of bringing winning baseball back to Detroit,” said Tigers executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Al Avila. “His positive impact on our young players will be felt for years to come.”

When Gardy took over after the 2017 season, he and his wife, Carol, became a mainstay in the Detroit community. Both he and Carol made it a point to be active in the community and support both Tigers fans and the city of Detroit. Though he will no longer be in the dugout managing the Tigers, his contributions to the community leaves a positive influence and will be appreciated for generations to come.

Most recently, Gardenhire joined the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, and Tigers starter, Matthew Boyd, to participate in the Home Plate Project, contributing toward a $30,000 donation to the Detroit Public School Community District. The generous donation assisted in feeding students through ‘Grab and Go’ sites after COVID-19 unexpectedly closed schools. Nearly 4,200 meals were served through the donation.

Throughout both the 2018 and '19 seasons, Gardenhire donated his personal luxury suite to nonprofit organizations. Over the two seasons, 17 nonprofits benefited from his donation: John D. Dingell Detroit VA Medical Center, ChadTough Foundation, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Salvation Army, MIU Men’s Health Foundation, COTS, Jack’s Place for Autism, ALS of Michigan, ALS Association Michigan Chapter, Detroit PAL, Be The Match, Kids Kicking Cancer, Fisher House, Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure and the Boys and Girls Club of Macomb and Oakland Counties.

Each season Gardenhire visited patients at the John D. Dingell Detroit VA Medical Center, actively participated in the Dreams Come True program, participated in the Autographed Memorabilia Donation and Autographs for a Cause programs, supported Keeping Kids in the Game -- a signature fundraiser for the Detroit Tigers Foundation -- and took part in Tigers Winter Caravan. Gardy was honored at the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland and Macomb Breakfast of Champions for his community impact.

Carol was very involved and active in the community during the Gardenhire’s time in Detroit. As a member and leader of the Tigers Wives, community giving was a priority. She participated in many volunteer opportunities throughout the city, including the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Michigan Humane Society, Salvation Army, Variety Feeds Kids, Wish Upon a Teen and took part in the Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for a Cure and Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids.

There is no doubt the Tigers organization will miss the leadership and kindness of Ron and Carol Gardenhire. They have left an incredible mark on the community and we wish them and their family health and happiness as they begin a new chapter in their lives.