Cal Ermer

I did a CW search for Cal Ermer this morning after I read that he died yesterday. Here is what I have written about the former Twins manager:

From the occasion of Sam Mele’s firing:

What seemed like the obvious choice to replace Mele, however, did not come to fruition. Rather than naming Martin to replace Mele as expected, Griffith named Cal Ermer as the new manager of the Minnesota Twins. Ermer was an organization man, a long time manager in the minor leagues. Griffith had told him as early as 1965 that he was to be the next manager of the Twins, and two years later Ermer, who had played just a single major league game, was guiding a major league team in a pennant race.

Then, from the Franchise 1967:

In Mele’s place came Cal Ermer. Ermer had been a manager in the minor leagues for 20 years, most of which came with the Twins organization. Griffith had told him as early as 1965 that he was to be the next manager of the Twins, the only question at the time being “when?” Ermer’s time came on June 9, a loss to the Orioles in his first game as a major league manager.

Things picked up for Ermer and the Twins, who were six games out of first place when the managerial change took place. By August 13, the Twins had a taste of first place, a position they held for the bulk of the final two months of the season. If not for the nightmare of the three consecutive losses to end the season, including a twogame sweep by the Red Sox at Fenway that clinched the AL for Boston, the 1967 season might be remembered as fondly as 1965 or 1969.

…and 1968

After narrowly missing the AL Pennant in 1967, expectations were high for the 1968 version of the Minnesota Twins. The team did not live up to its expectations and it became clear by mid-season that Cal Ermer was going to take the fall. With Billy Martin waiting in the wings to take over as manager, it was not a matter of if Griffith was going to let go of Ermer, but when. Public disagreements with star players, including Rod Carew, Jim Kaat, and Dave Boswell, did not help Ermer’s standing.

Ermer lasted the season, but received his walking papers immediately after the final game of the Twins’ seventh-place campaign. Shortly after the World Series, Billy Martin was named his successor. Griffith, when asked about the move, said that “Ermer didn’t take charge. Players can make or break you. Unfortunately, the players broke Ermer this year.”

Finally, a blurb I wrote in a series on the managers at TwinsCards:

Surprisingly, Billy Martin was not named the replacement for Mele. Instead, the job went to Cal Ermer, a near life-long franchise employee. Ermer played for the Washington organization, but played just one game in the majors in 1947. Ermer stayed with the organization, however, and worked his way up to manage in the farm system. By 1967, he was managing the AAA affiliate in Denver, when he got the call to replace Mele. The Twins caught fire under Ermer, finishing the season 20 games over .500 and narrowly missing the AL Pennant on the final day of the season. Ermer and the Twins’ 1968 season, however, was doomed from the time that Harmon Killebrew went down with an injury. A 79-83 record was enough to get Ermer fired as season’s end. He finished his major league managing career with a 145-129 record, all with the Twins.


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