MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When Jim Rantz signed his first professional contract with the Washington Senators in 1960, the skinny pitcher out of the University of Minnesota was just hoping to hang around the organization for a few seasons.
He wound up staying for the next 52 years.
The senior director of minor league operations for the Minnesota Twins announced his retirement on Monday, ending an incredible run with his hometown organization that included stints as a player, manager, public relations official, scout and farm system coordinator. The announcement was made in Fort Myers, Fla., where the team is conducting its organizational meetings.
"This has been an incredible journey for me and for my family and I look forward to spending more time with my wife, Pearl, our four children and their spouses, and nine grandchildren," Rantz said in a statement issued by the team.
After spending five years as a player and manager, he joined the Twins' front office following the 1965 season. He spent four years in public relations before moving into the minor league and scouting department. Rantz became director of minor league operations in 1986.
The 75-year-old Rantz was elected to the Twins Hall of Fame in 2007 and has been a beloved figure in the organization for five decades. He had a hand in bringing future general manager Terry Ryan and future manager Ron Gardenhire into the organization, helped stock the 1987 and 1991 World Series championship rosters and then helped rebuild the farm system in the late 1990s to set the table for a run of six division titles in nine seasons.