Longtime Twins coach Stelmaszek dies at 69

Former big league catcher spent 32 seasons with Minnesota

Longtime Twins coach Stelmaszek dies at 69

MINNEAPOLIS -- Longtime Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, who served as a coach for 32 seasons from 1982-2012, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Monday. He was 69.

The Twins issued a statement regarding Stelmaszek, who was the longest-tenured coach in Minnesota history, and only trails Nick Altrock (42 straight seasons with the Senators) and Manny Mota (34 consecutive seasons with the Dodgers) among the longest-tenured coaches in continuous service with one franchise in MLB history.

"The Minnesota Twins are deeply saddened by the loss of Rick Stelmaszek," the statement read. "A true Twins legend, "Stelly" was widely respected throughout baseball. He was a professional who dedicated his life to Twins baseball and instilled a winning culture into generations of Twins players. The club, like many of his friends throughout the game, is thinking of his wife and son, Kathy and Michael, and the entire Stelmaszek family during this difficult time."

Stelmaszek won two World Series with the Twins in 1987 and '91 and worked under five different Twins managers: Johnny Goryl, Billy Gardner, Ray Miller, Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire. Stelmaszek was dismissed after the 2012 season. The former big league catcher played 60 career games with the Senators, Rangers, Angels and Cubs from 1971-74. He began his managing career in 1978 with the Wisconsin Rapids Twins, a former Minor League affiliate, and spent three seasons there before joining Minnesota's coaching staff under Goryl.

Stelmaszek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2016, and the Twins hosted him at Target Field to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day in 2017. He also made it back to Target Field for the 30-year anniversary celebration of the 1987 World Series team in July.

Stelmaszek was set to be honored at the annual Diamond Awards in January, as he was named the recipient of the Herb Carneal Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.