Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ray Miller

Sent: 5/11/12
Received: 5/18/12
Time: 7 Days
Address: Home
Item Sent: 1986 Topps, 1986 Twins Team Issue
Item Received: 1986 Topps, 1986 Twins Team Issue, Baltimore Orioles postcard.  All signed in black ballpoint.

Ray Miller has an interesting place in Twins history.  I'm not sure how many of today's Twins fans can name the man who was skipper before Tom Kelly, or can recall a time when the team went outside the organization to find a manager.  The Twins surprised a lot of people by contending late into the 1984 season and finishing the year at .500.  Hopes were high in 1985, but they struggled badly out of the gates.  Manager Billy Gardner was fired and Miller was brought in.  Miller had been one of the top pitching coaches in the game while with the Baltimore Orioles and he did reasonably well with the Twins over the rest of the 1985 season.  Great pitching coaches do not necessarily make great managers, though.  The Twins scuffled through another disappointing year in 1986.  Near the end of the season, Miller was fired after just over a year on the job.  Third base coach Kelly was promoted and a year later the Twins were celebrating their first World Series title.  Miller would spend several more years as a pitching coach for the Pirates and, later on, back with the Orioles.

In addition to signing my cards, Mr. Miller added an Orioles postcard.  On the back of that, he thanked me for my letter and for being a fan.

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