Tom Kelly, who managed the Minnesota Twins from 1986-2001, and won two World Series (1987 and 1991), was involved in many trades over the years, but none the likes of his most recent one in swapping Thoroughbreds for Standardbreds.
Kelly had his number 10 retired by the team in ceremonies at Target Field on Sept. 8, 2012. Kelly, who still serves as a special assistant to the general manager for the Twins, received several gifts from the team, including an all-expenses paid trip to the 2013 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. However, because Kelly is a longtime Standardbred owner and loves harness racing, he asked Twins management if he could trade the trip for one to this year's Breeders Crown Championship Night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
The trade was "approved” so Kelly and his wife, Sharon, will be at Pocono this weekend, with the former manager making a winner's circle presentation to one of the Crown champions. This won't be the first Crown excursion for Kelly as he was at Colonial Downs in 1998 and served as guest drawmaster for the Crown final race card.
"I traded my trip in for the Breeders Crown,” Kelly told harnessracing.com. "I love harness racing and spend much time in my living room watching the races, so it was very appealing to have a chance to not only make the trip to Pocono Downs but also participate in some of the activities.”
While on road trips while managing the Twins, Kelly would often make a trip to a local harness track on an off day or at night following a day game. Kelly has owned more than 50 Standardbreds over the years, and at one time also owned several Greyhounds, some in partnership with former Twins great Kirby Puckett.
As for his harness horses, some of his best included Print It, a winner of more than $600,000 while racing for Kelly in 2005-10, Nomar, who earned about $120,000 in 2002-04, and Angela Gold N, a winner of about $100,000 in 2003-05.
Kelly also noted that it was his horse Galleons Joy N who gave driver Corey Callahan his very first win on Dec. 16, 2005, at Rosecroft Raceway.
Kelly is just the sixth Twin to have his number retired. "Now I'm right up there on the wall in the stadium next to Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett and Bert Blyleven,” he said.