Recap: Detroit Tigers introduce Ron Gardenhire

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
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Ron Gardenhire tries on a Tigers jersey with owner Chris Ilitch, left, and general manager Al Avila.

The Tigers have just announced the hiring of Ron Gardenhire as the 38th manager in the team's long history.

Tigers General Manager Al Avila: "We interviewed many qualified candidates over the last couple of weeks. Gardy's track record of success really stood out from the rest. After managing against us for 14 seasons, it's going to be nice to have him on our side of the dugout."

Tigers Owner Chris Illitch: "This franchise has undergone a significant transition over the last few months. Bringing Gardy on board is a tremendous step in the right direction."

Gardenhire: "It's a pleasure. I'm honored. It's something that's very special to me, this Central Division. I've battled against this team for a long time. Jim Leyland and I are good buddies. He told me when he leaves, he wants me to manage here. This is a new start for me. I believe that I can run a baseball team, I believe that. There isn't anything I haven't been through with the Twins. We developed all along the process. I've been through it, and I think the greatest part of the game is to be able to teach. If you don't like challenges, you should be in baseball."

On analytics: "I just went through the analytic department and told all those guys that I love them. With the Diamondbacks, I got a firsthand look and saw it work. I don't mind being called old-school. We all learned to play baseball old-school, but you can never stop learning, and I don't want to start learning."

Avila on the search for a new manager: "We had 47 names, and I have the paperwork to prove it. But after the final interview, we felt we had out man."

Illitch on his role: "We are working to build an organization that will compete consistently for world championships. I am committed to winning, much like my father was. I had the fortune to be beside him as he built championship teams around here. It's built from the foundation and grows from there. I think we've got a great man here to lead our organization in the pursuit of championships."

Gardenhire on whether he wanted to be part of a rebuild at this stage of his career: "I'm only 59, but I'll be 60 in four days. It doesn't bother me at all. The things that we've talked about doing here, I've done them. There's not going to be too many surprises for me. I don't want to lose. Who's to say we have to lose next year? I'm going to go in and say we're going to kick some people's butts."

Gardenhire on Cabrera: "I know of his injuries, but I also know he's one of the greatest players to play the game. I've witnessed him mutilate my baseball teams many times. I want to keep him healthy, and I firmly believe if we keep him that way, we're going to have fun working around him and using him as our leader."

Gardenhire on his health: "A little bit of a scare, but I got through that. I had to learn to take care of myself to get myself back in shape to do some of these things. I've worked very hard to get back here and be able to do this."

Tigers analyst Rod Allen prior to the press conference: "I think it's wonderful that they've hired Gardenhire. It's the safe pick. He's managed low-paid teams, superstars, non-superstars. He's cut from the same cloth of Jim Leyland. What made him so attractive is you get some of the old school and new school. He used a lot of analytics in Arizona, so I don't think it's going to be an issue at all. He can run a baseball game as well as anybody out there. From that standpoint, the (Tigers) are getting a complete manager."

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