Ticketed to be the Royals’ third-base coach in 1987, Gardner instead became the team’s manager when terminally ill Dick Howser resigned during spring training. But Gardner was fired that August. He had piloted the Twins from May 1981 until June 1985, with a second-place finish in 1984. His pro playing career touched four decades (1945-71) and included ten ML seasons. He was Baltimore’s regular second baseman from 1956 to 1959, and in 1957 he led the AL in doubles and at-bats. He was in Minnesota’s original Opening Day lineup, and played briefly later that season for the powerful 1961 Yankees.