Opening Night tickets now available for Wednesday, June 2nd
Willmar, Minn. – A very recognizable name in the State of Minnesota will be on hand for the 2021 Willmar Stingers Opening Night. The Stingers are excited to welcome longtime Minnesota Twins coach and manager Ron “Gardy” Gardenhire to the Beehive on Wednesday, June 2nd. Opening Night will mark the 12th season of Northwoods League Baseball in Willmar and the 28th year of summer collegiate baseball in the upper Midwest.
Gardy will throw out the ceremonial first pitch as a part of the Opening Day festivities presented by J.D. Kreps Financial Group. The Stinger will take on the Eau Claire Express at 7:05pm at Bill Taunton Stadium and all fans will have the opportunity to meet Gardy, get autographs and take pictures beginning at 6pm.
The first 250 fans will receive a picture of Gardy and all fans will receive a magnet schedule for the upcoming 2021 Stingers season as they enter the ballpark.
He spent 16 seasons as a manager at the Major League level with the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers. In his 13 seasons with the Twins, he led the Twins to six Central Division titles and an appearance in the American League Championship Series in 2002. Gardy finished his Twins managerial career with 1,068 wins, which is the second-most in franchise history behind his predecessor Tom Kelly (1,140 wins).
For three seasons after he retired as a player (1988-1990), Gardy was a manager in the Minnesota farm system, leading teams in the Class A Midwest League and Class AA Southern League to one second and two first-place finishes.
In 1991 he joined the Twins big league coaching staff as the third base coach, holding that position for 11 seasons and won a World Series in his year as coach at the major league level.
Gardy is awfully familiar with the Northwoods League and has been a fan for many years. That’s because his son Toby grew up in Minnesota and played for the Rochester Honkers for three summers (2002-2005). Toby played college baseball at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and the University of Illinois. In 2005, he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins and played in the Twins minor league system for seven years.
Following his playing days, he followed in this father’s footsteps in coaching. Toby has been coaching at different levels and most recently was named as the manager for the St. Paul Saints, the Twins new Triple-A Affiliate.
Gardy plans to spend a portion of this summer watching his son coach in St. Paul, while also catching a few games at Target Field with the Twins. If fans are interested in meeting Gardy, and seeing the Stingers…tickets are currently on sale! Tickets can be purchased for the 2021 Home Opener online (click here), visiting the Stingers Ticket Office located at Bill Taunton Stadium or by calling 320-222-2010.
Single Game tickets for the remainder of the 2021 season will be available for purchase Friday, May 7th at 10am.
The 2021 Stingers season is presented by J.D. Kreps Financial Group, empowering investors with powerful financial advice.