Ron Gardenhire, an AL Central fixture for the better part of the last two decades, retired from managing Saturday.
The White Sox saw an awful lot of Gardenhire-helmed squads during the 21st century. He managed the Minnesota Twins from 2002 to 2014 and the Detroit Tigers from 2018 to 2020. Gardenhire won six AL Central titles with the Twins, getting them as far as the ALCS.
Those Twins teams were a constant presence atop the division and a constant thorn in the side of the White Sox during the 2000s, with Gardenhire amassing a 126-115 record against the South Siders in his 13 seasons in the Twin Cities. Gardenhire's Twins won the season series against the White Sox all but twice during his tenure: in 2005, the year the White Sox won the World Series, and in 2012, the White Sox last winning season prior to 2020.
This year, the White Sox went 9-1 against Gardenhire's Tigers.
Saturday, Gardenhire, who will turn 63 years old next month, cited health reasons as the primary driver for his decision to retire, effectively immediately, with a handful of games still remaining on the regular-season schedule. Former Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners manager and current Detroit bench coach Lloyd McClendon will manage the Tigers for the remainder of the 2020 campaign.
The White Sox division rivals will have a new skipper on the bench next season as the Tigers move further into their rebuilding process, the type of rebuild that is already reaping big-time benefits for the playoff-bound White Sox.