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Twins hire Rocco Baldelli as new manager

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Baldelli is a young face with the perfect background mixture of player, front office, and coach.

Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day
The Twins are going to be moving up in Craig Calcaterra’s rankings of manager handsomeness.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

News broke late Wednesday night that the Twins would be hiring Rocco Baldelli as their new manager, and by Thursday morning the team confirmed that was the case. The 37-year-old is set to become the youngest current manager in MLB, and the second youngest manager in Twins history. Only Tom Kelly — who was 35 years old when the Twins hired him, yet perpetually looked about 60 — was younger.

Here’s Baldelli flying on a private jet, presumably on his way to Target Field to complete his I-9 and take part in some kind of press shindig.

From what Derek Falvey had previously said about the team’s managerial search, I got the feeling they were looking for someone young, and Baldelli definitely fits that bill. Despite his youth, however, Baldelli has a good amount of experience. He’s served as a coach for the Tampa Bay Rays for the past four years,and was a Special Assistant to the Rays GM for four years before that. He’s well liked in the Rays organization, and around baseball in general, as shown by the fact he was interviewed for four of the five open major league managerial positions opened so far this offseason.

Of course, for you young whipper snappers out there, Baldelli was also a major league player, and a well-regarded one at that. He made his big league debut in 2003 at age 21, finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .289/.326/.416. He also had a huge RBI hit in the ALCS, which the Rays reminded us about today on Twitter.

After six seasons with the Rays and one with the Red Sox, Rocco was unfortunately forced to retire at the young age of 29 due to a rare metabolic/muscular disorder that causes frequent injuries. I remember when I wrote my original post naming all of the first round contenders for the Twins managerial position, I read all of the names to my Mom and when I came to Rocco Baldelli she said, “I remember Rocco! That guy just up and quit baseball!” I had to explain the medical issue. My Mom then told me she had a signed Rocco Baldelli rookie card because of course my Mom has a signed Rocco Baldelli rookie card.

Anyway, I would say if there is any sort of theme to Baldelli’s life, it’s that he seems to do everything early and at a young age. Let’s hope he continues that trend with winning the World Series.

Also, just want to add — called it.

Poll

What do you think about the Twins hiring Rocco Baldelli as the new manager?

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  • 2%
    Hate it.
    (18 votes)
  • 69%
    Love it.
    (459 votes)
  • 14%
    I don’t care.
    (94 votes)
  • 13%
    Who?
    (86 votes)
657 votes total Vote Now