The Minnesota Twins fired Manager Ray Miller, 41, today and named third base coach Tom Kelly, 36, interim manager for the rest of the season.
Miller, a former Baltimore Orioles pitching coach, was expected to rejuvenate the Twins' weak pitching staff after replacing Billy Gardner in June 1985. But this year's pitching staff had a 4.82 earned run average, worst in the major leagues, and the team had the worst record in the American League -- 59-80.
The Twins' president, Howie Fox, announced the firing. He had twice given Miller votes of confidence after poor road trips, once in May and again in July. Just Thursday night, the Twins had ended a five-game losing streak.
Miller constantly has blamed inconsistent pitching for the Twins' troubles. His bullpen has blown 28 leads in the seventh inning, or later, this season.
"A manager is only going to be as good as the people he brings in," he said today.
"I asked for an everyday left fielder," he said. "I asked for a middle infielder with speed. Carl Pohlad is an excellent owner and a good man and he'll be excellent for this city. But last September he told me that he'd get me everything I needed. And that hasn't happened."
The Twins haven't drawn well and Thursday's announced crowd of 6,875 -- that included no-shows -- was the smallest at the Metrodome since June 4, 1984.
Kelly has managed five seasons in the minors. In 1977, he was a full time outfielder for Class AAA Tacoma and took over as manager in mid-season. Tacoma went on to finish first in the second-half standings. In 1981 and '82, he managed the Twins' affiliate in Orlando, Fla. He hit .181 in a 45-game trial with the Twins in 1975.