Kelly, who was on hand to give recently retired broadcaster John Gordon the Herb Carneal Lifetime Achievement Award, was asked to remain on the stage after Gordon's acceptance speech.
Twins president Dave St. Peter and owner Jim Pohlad then joined Kelly on the stage to announce that the former manager's No. 10 will be retired this season.
It left the 61-year-old speechless, as he was too emotional to say anything upon hearing about the honor that will be officially bestowed upon him during a pregame celebration as part of Tom Kelly Day, when the Twins host the Indians on Sept. 8.
"When I was managing years ago, we'd be behind in the ninth inning, like 3-2 or 4-3, and we'd say, 'Let's see if we can ambush somebody,' and what happened tonight is what I'd call an ambush," Kelly said after the ceremony. "I was very shocked. I want to thank the Pohlad family and Dave St. Peter. They surprised the heck out of me. I was in total shock. I'm very appreciative."
Kelly is the franchise's all-time leader and ranks 43rd on Major League's Baseball all-time list with 1,140 managerial wins. He also had a postseason record of 16-8, winning the World Series in 1987 and '91.
But Kelly, who managed the club from 1986-2001, said the players whom he managed are the ones who helped him achieve such great success as a big league skipper.
"The bottom line is, I had good players and I rode on their coattails," Kelly said. "Believe me, I know about baseball and managing, but you can't win without good players. I had good players, and I know that, and so I appreciate those players that helped me get a few awards and trophies over the years."
Kelly joins Harmon Killebrew (No. 3 -- 1975), Rod Carew (No. 29 -- 1987), Tony Oliva (No. 6 -- 1991), Kent Hrbek (No. 14 -- 1995), Kirby Puckett (No. 34 -- 1997) and Bert Blyleven (No. 28 -- 2011) as the seventh Twin to have his number retired by the organization. The Twins, in conjunction with all of Major League Baseball, retired Jackie Robinson's No. 42 in 1997.
"Few, if any individuals, have had as much direct impact on the success of the Twins franchise as Tom Kelly," Pohlad said. "Over a 41-year career with the Twins organization, Tom has helped ensure high standards on and off the field and has always demonstrated the utmost respect for the game. It is our honor to celebrate Tom's remarkable career by forever retiring his famed No. 10."
The surprise announcement was the ending to another successful Diamond Awards, which honors the club's award winners based on voting conducted by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
All proceeds from the event benefited the University of Minnesota's innovative research and patient care focused on ataxia, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
Michael Cuddyer, who signed with the Rockies during the offseason, won three awards, but was unable to attend because he was back home with his wife and their twin daughters, who were born in early December.
He won the Twins' Most Valuable Player Award, the Bob Allison Award given to the Twins player who exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field, and the Mike Augustin Award, which is given to the Twins player who fosters healthy relations with the media.
Left-hander Glen Perkins also won multiple awards, being honored as the Twins' Pitcher of the Year (Joseph W. Haynes Award) and the Most Improved Player (Charles O. Johnson Award).
Outfielder Ben Revere was named the Twins' Most Outstanding Rookie with the Bill Boni Award. And Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, was named the Upper Midwest Player of the Year as the recipient of the Dick Siebert Award, but was unable to attend.
Other awards given out included the Sherry Robertson Award (Brian Dozier, Twins Minor League Player of the Year), the Jim Rantz Award (Liam Hendriks, Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year), the Carl R. Pohlad Community Service Award (Carl Pavano) and the Kirby Puckett Award for alumni community service (Terry Steinbach).
The ceremony was slated to conclude with Gordon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, but the Twins decided to end it with their surprise announcement about Kelly's number being retired.
"I couldn't take it, and I'm still having trouble," Kelly said about controlling his emotions. "There are so many people here that are so loyal. That's one thing about the Twins, if you're loyal to them, they'll return the favor. And they definitely did tonight."