Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Twins announced today that Terry Ryan has assumed the role of interim General Manager, replacing Bill Smith effective immediately.
"No one in the Twins' organization wants to win any more than Bill," Twins Owner and CEO Jim Pohlad said. "He is unquestionably loyal, committed and talented. The Twins goal is to get better in 2012 and beyond. Bill was equally motivated to achieve that goal but we differed in the scope and approach that was required. Going forward, we intend to have additional discussions with Bill about an ongoing role within the organization. We wish Bill, Becky and the entire Smith family nothing but the best.
"We are fortunate and grateful for Terry Ryan's willingness to step in as interim general manager," Pohlad continued.
Smith, a member of the Twins organization since 1986, was named the fourth General Manager in Twins history on September 13, 2007. Under Smith's leadership the Twins won two American League Central Division titles (2009-2010) and were on the cusp of winning a third before a Game 163 tiebreaker loss to the Chicago White Sox in 2008. Smith's tenure also included a significant role in shaping the design, construction and successful 2010 opening of Target Field. Prior to becoming General Manager, Smith spent 13 seasons as Vice President, Assistant General Manager, sharing responsibilities for negotiating contracts, assisting the day-to-day operations of the Major League department and the Twins academies in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Smith is a member of the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees, represents the Twins in Winter League baseball issues and recently served on Commissioner Selig's special committee on the Dominican Republic. Smith, 53, was raised in North Hampton, NH and is a graduate of Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, where he majored in French. In 1980, he was one of the first participants in Major League Baseball's Executive Development Program. Following two seasons as the assistant director of minor leagues and scouting for the Chicago White Sox, and three seasons as the General Manager of the White Sox' Class A affiliate in Appleton, WI, Smith joined the Twins organization in March, 1986 as Assistant Director of Minor Leagues and Scouting. Smith was named Director of Baseball Administration for the Twins in October, 1989, and was the Twins liaison during the construction of their spring training home in Fort Myers, FL, from 1989-1991. Bill, wife Becky, have three grown daughters Allison and Amy, who are twins, and Jennifer, make their home in Bloomington, MN.
"Working for the Minnesota Twins for the past 26 seasons has been the greatest professional privilege I could have ever imagined," Smith said. "I will be forever grateful to the Pohlad family for the many wonderful opportunities they have provided to me, including the chance to sit in the General Manager's chair for the past four seasons. My thanks and admiration to each of the wonderfully talented people with whom I have worked, and to Tom Kelly, Ron Gardenhire, their hard-working coaches & trainers and a large group of players who always represent the Minnesota Twins on the field and in the community better than any team in Baseball! Finally, it gives me great pleasure to hand this baton back to the best baseball man I have ever known, Terry Ryan."
Ryan, who has spent more than 28 years in the Twins organization as a minor league player or executive, returns to the role of the General Manager, a post he held for 13 years (1994-2007). As interim General Manager, Ryan will be responsible for the team the Twins put on the field (40-man and 25-man major league rosters), negotiating contracts, overseeing the coaching staff, and entire baseball department, including the minor leagues, scouting, the medical staff, team travel and baseball communications. In addition, Ryan will be responsible for succession planning within the baseball department with the intent to identify future leadership candidates. Ryan was named the fourth General Manager in Minnesota Twins history on September 13, 1994. Through the efforts of Ryan and his staff, the Twins organization won four American League Central Division titles (2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006). He was twice named Sporting News Executive of the Year (2002 and 2006) and twice the recipient of the Andrew "Rube" Foster Legacy Award as the American League Executive of the Year by the Negro League Museum (2004 and 2006). Under Ryan's leadership, the Twins were twice named Baseball America's Organization of the Year (2002 and 2004). Ryan stepped down as General Manager on September 13, 2007 and assumed the role of Senior Advisor to the General Manager, a role he has worked in until today. Ryan, 58, began his professional baseball career with the Twins in 1972 after being drafted in the 35th round out of Parker High School in Janesville, WI. He pitched in the Twins' minor league system for four seasons, posting a 14-3 record, including 10-0 in 1973, before an arm injury cut his career short. In 1975, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated with a degree in physical education in 1979. The 1998 Topps' Advancement Through The Game Award winner returned to baseball in 1980 as Midwest Scouting Supervisor for the New York Mets, a position which he held for six years before being named the Twins' Scouting Director in January, 1986. One of the game's most respected baseball executives, since 2009 Ryan has served on Commissioner Selig's Special Committee for On-Field Matters. Prior to his first stint as General Manager he was Vice President of Player Personnel, a position he assumed on September 23, 1991. Terry and his wife Karilyn, have two grown children, Tim and Kathleen, and live in Eagan, MN.
"As we move ahead, I'm looking forward to the challenge of improving this club for 2012 and beyond," Ryan said. "We have many assets in place including a strong front office, manager, coaching staff and returning core of players. We have a lot of work to do in relation to development of our roster, but I'm optimistic in our collective abilities to ensure the future on-field success of this franchise."