Doug Mientkiewicz

Douglas Andrew Mientkiewicz (/mɪntˈkvɪ/ mint-KAY-vitch; born June 19, 1974) is an American former professional baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a first baseman from 1998 to 2009, most prominently as a member of the Minnesota Twins where he was a Gold Glove Award winner. Mientkiewicz was also a member of the 2004 World Series winning Boston Red Sox team. He is one of five players to win both an Olympic gold medal and a World Series championship.

Doug Mientkiewicz
Mientkiewicz as the Fort Myers Miracle manager in 2014
First baseman
Born: (1974-06-19) June 19, 1974
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 18, 1998, for the Minnesota Twins
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 2009, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
Batting average.271
Home runs66
Runs batted in405
Career highlights and awards

After his playing career, Mientkiewicz briefly worked as a television sports analyst before serving as a minor league manager in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers organizations.

High school

Mientkiewicz attended Westminster Christian School in Palmetto Bay, Florida, where he was a teammate of Alex Rodriguez.[1] Upon graduation, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 12th round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft, but chose instead to play at Florida State University.

College career

In his third season with the Seminoles, Mientkiewicz led the team with a .371 batting average, 19 home runs and 80 runs batted in. Florida State earned their first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, and Mientkiewicz was named ACC Atlantic I Regional Most Valuable Player. After the season, Mientkiewicz was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the fifth round of the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft. Mientkiewicz was elected to the Florida State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.[2]

Minor league career

In 1998, he batted .323, with a .432 on-base percentage and .508 slugging percentage in 509 at-bats for the New Britain Rock Cats to earn Eastern League (Double-A) All-Star honors, and a September call-up to the Twins. He batted .200 with two runs batted in in 25 at-bats for the Twins.

Mientkiewicz earned a roster spot with the Twins the following spring without having playing in Triple-A, and batted .229 with two home runs and 32 runs batted in sharing playing time with Ron Coomer at first base in 1999. After a full season in the majors, Mientkiewicz spent the 2000 season with the Twins' Triple-A affiliate, the Salt Lake Buzz. He was the Triple-A All-Star first baseman, and Pacific Coast League All-Star designated hitter. He batted .334, with a .446 on-base percentage and a .524 slugging percentage in 485 at-bats for Salt Lake, while both scoring and driving in 96 runs.

After the Triple-A season, Mientkiewicz joined the U.S. Olympic team at the 2000 games in Sydney. Mientkiewicz hit the game-winning home run against South Korea in the semi-finals to help the U.S. capture its first-ever gold medal in baseball. Following the Olympics, he spent three games with the Twins, collecting six hits in fourteen at-bats.

In LVBP he played one season with Navegantes del Magallanes in the 1999-2000 season batting for .268 with 2 homers and 10 RBI.

Major league career

Minnesota Twins

In 2001, Mientkiewicz was awarded the starting first base job for the Twins, and responded by batting .306 with fifteen home runs and 74 runs batted in (all career highs) while earning the American League Gold Glove award for top defensive first baseman.

His numbers dipped in 2002; however, he reached the post-season for the first time in his career, and hit two home runs in the 2002 American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics. The Twins battled the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals for the division crown all season long in 2003.

Mientkiewicz drew the ire of the Chicago White Sox and their fans by suggesting that the All-Star Game, scheduled to be played at U.S. Cellular Field on July 15, should be moved to a different venue after a fan attacked umpire Laz Diaz during an April 15 game between the White Sox and Royals.[3] Chicago White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams shot back that Mientkiewicz should not worry about the game's location because he would not be there.[4]

The fans booed Mientkiewicz the first time he and the Twins came to U.S. Cellular Field on April 25, and cheered White Sox starter Mark Buehrle for hitting Mientkiewicz with a pitch during his first at-bat.[5]

Following a mid-September three-game sweep over the White Sox at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome that gave the Twins a 3+12 game lead in the American League Central, Mientkiewicz again got himself in the crosshairs by commenting in a postgame television interview, "They're done," about his Central Division rivals. The Twins won the division by four games over the Chicago White Sox, but were eliminated by the New York Yankees in the 2003 American League Division Series.

Boston Red Sox

As the trade deadline approached, the 2004 Boston Red Sox found themselves 8+12 games in back of the New York Yankees in the American League East, and one game in back of the Texas Rangers in the wild card race. With infield defense proving to be their Achilles' heel, they made a four-team trade deadline deal on July 31 that landed Mientkiewicz and Montreal Expos shortstop Orlando Cabrera with the Boston Red Sox, and sent Justin Jones to the Twins. Coincidentally, the Twins were playing a home series against the Red Sox at the time. On July 30th, 2004, Mientkiewicz went 2-4, scoring one run as a member of the Minnesota Twins. The next day, July 31, 2004, Mientkiewicz was in the visiting dugout as a member of the Boston Red Sox, and started at first base and hit sixth in the lineup. The Red Sox also sent Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton to the Chicago Cubs, and the Cubs sent Francis Beltrán, Alex Gonzalez and Brendan Harris to the Expos as part of this trade.

Mientkiewicz and Cabrera proved valuable additions to their new franchise as the Red Sox surged to within three games of the Yankees by the end of the season, and took the A.L. wild card by seven games over the Oakland A's. On August 16, Mientkiewicz made an emergency start at second base, a position he had only ever played four times in the minor leagues, and never in the majors.[6]

Mientkiewicz went 4-for-10 in the post-season. He did not appear in any of the first three games of the 2004 American League Championship Series that the Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees; however, he appeared in all of the final four that they won in their come-from-behind series win.[7]

When St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Édgar Rentería grounded back to pitcher Keith Foulke, who trotted toward first base and underhanded the ball to Mientkiewicz to complete Boston's four-game sweep of the World Series, Mientkiewicz kept the ball, as dictated by baseball tradition.[8] As Boston had not won a World Series in 86 years, the ball symbolized the end of the so-called "Curse of the Bambino", and was of considerable interest to memorabilia collectors.

Controversy resulted when the Red Sox asked for the ball's return, and Mientkiewicz refused to give it back. Shortly after his January 27 trade to the New York Mets, Mientkiewicz and the Red Sox reached an agreement that the Red Sox would hold the ball temporarily and could display it across New England, along with the World Series trophy. The agreement called for Mientkiewicz to get the ball back at the end of 2005 unless the ultimate issue of ownership has been otherwise resolved. In the controversy that followed, Mientkiewicz received death threats against himself and his wife.[9]

On November 30, 2005, lawyers for the Red Sox filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court asking the court to place the ball in a secure location until ownership was decided. The club's legal team said that Mientkiewicz had gained possession of the ball only because he was a Red Sox employee and that the ball remained the team's property.[10] On April 23, 2006, it was announced that he had reached an agreement with the Red Sox, and the ball would go to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Mientkiewicz began the 2005 season as the Mets' everyday first baseman, but lost his starting job to prospect Mike Jacobs by the end of the season.[11] During the following season with the Kansas City Royals, he compiled a .283 batting average and 43 runs batted in, his most since playing with Minnesota. He was not offered a contract by the Royals, and on January 5, 2007, he signed a one-year deal with the New York Yankees.[12]

New York Yankees

On June 2, 2007, Mientkiewicz collided with Mike Lowell of the Boston Red Sox while trying to field a throw from shortstop Derek Jeter. He suffered a mild concussion and a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist and was placed on the disabled list.[13] Mientkiewicz missed three months of the season, and did not return until September 4.[14] He made his first start since the injury on September 16, and went two-for-three in the Yankees' 4–3 victory over the Red Sox.[15]

For the season, he batted .277 with five home runs and 24 runs batted in. He made the post-season for the fourth time in his career, and was hitless in six at-bats.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Mientkiewicz with the Pirates in Spring Training 2008

On February 11, 2008, Mientkiewicz signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his only season in Pittsburgh, he batted .277 with two home runs and 30 runs batted in, mostly backing up Adam LaRoche at first base. He also made 33 appearances at third base and ten in right field. He briefly left the team during the season while his wife, Jodi, had heart surgery.[16]

Los Angeles Dodgers

On February 26, 2009, Mientkiewicz signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Los Angeles Dodgers.[17] He made the Major League roster as a pinch hitter and appeared in seven games for the Dodgers in April before dislocating his shoulder sliding into second base and being placed on the 60-day disabled list.[18] After a brief rehab stint with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes from July 28 to August 17, Mientkiewicz rejoined the Dodgers in September, seeing sporadic action as a pinch hitter down the stretch. He collected six hits in eighteen at-bats, only one of which was for extra bases, and had three runs batted in.

Mientkiewicz signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers for the 2010 season, and came to camp to compete for the left-handed pinch hitter role. He was offered a coaching position with the team when he did not make the club out of spring training, but opted instead to keep playing and become a free agent.[19]

Florida Marlins

On May 5, 2010, he signed a minor league contract with the Florida Marlins, but was released just nine days later after playing four games for the Marlins' Triple A affiliate, the New Orleans Zephyrs.[20] Mientkiewicz's deal included a one-day out clause for May 16, and the Marlins chose to cut him loose before he could exercise it.[21]

Following his release, Mientkiewicz chose to retire from baseball.


After retirement, Mientkiewicz worked as an analyst for the 2010 MLB post-season for


Mientkiewicz made his coaching debut in 2012 in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as the hitting coach of the rookie league Ogden Raptors in the Pioneer League. After 2012, he was hired by the Minnesota Twins organization as the Manager of the high-Class A Fort Myers Miracle, the team he played for in 1995–96 to start his baseball career.[22][23] Mientikiewicz got the Miracle off to a fast start in 2013 as the team tied a franchise record by winning their first 14 games of the season (equaling the mark set in 1995 and tied in 2007)[24] and ended April with a Minor League best 21 wins (21-4).[25]

In October 2014, Mientkiewicz was a finalist to become the manager of the Minnesota Twins.[26][27] Ultimately, Paul Molitor was selected as Twins manager, and Mientkiewicz managed the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts in 2015–16 before returning to Fort Myers for a second term as the Miracle's skipper. He was fired after the 2017 season.[28]

On November 16, 2017, Mientkiewicz was named the manager of the Toledo Mud Hens, the Detroit Tigers' Triple-A affiliate.[29] On October 31, 2019, he was fired by the Mud Hens.[30]

See also


  1. Dylan Hernandez (May 1, 2009). "Doug Mientkiewicz never saw A-Rod use steroids in high school". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  2. "Florida State University Athletics Player Profile: Doug Mientkiewicz". Seminoles Athletics. Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  3. Jim Molony (April 25, 2003). "Mientkiewicz no fan favorite: First baseman's comments not appreciated". Archived from the original on October 4, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
  4. Scott Merkin (April 25, 2003). "Comments still sting: General manager defends retort to Mientkiewicz". Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
  5. "Minnesota Twins 6, White Sox 1". April 25, 2003. Archived from the original on February 13, 2010.
  6. "Boston Red Sox 8, Toronto Blue Jays 4". August 16, 2004. Archived from the original on October 23, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  7. "2004 League Championship Series". October 12–20, 2004. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  8. "Ballpeace: Doug Mientkiewicz and Red Sox Reach Agreement on Baseball". April 25, 2006. Archived from the original on November 5, 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  9. Wayne Drehs (April 20, 2011). "The lesson of Doug Mientkiewicz". Archived from the original on April 24, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  10. Jonathan Saltzman (April 25, 2006). "Sox play tough on memento: Lawyers file suit for '04 Series ball". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008.
  11. "Doug Mientkiewicz". The Ultimate Mets Database. January 26 – December 16, 2005. Archived from the original on December 2, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  12. Bryan Hoch (January 5, 2007). "Yankees ink Mientkiewicz to contract". Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  13. Anthony McCarron (June 3, 2007). "'Scary' collision sends Mientkiewicz to DL". Daily News. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012.
  14. "New York Yankees 12, Seattle Mariners 3". September 4, 2007. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012.
  15. "New York Yankees 4, Boston Red Sox 3". September 16, 2007. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  16. Rob Biertempfel (August 23, 2008). "Mientkiewicz gets back on the diamond". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
  17. "Ethier, Blake Ailing; Mientkiewicz Signed". February 26, 2009. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
  18. Ken Gurnick (April 17, 2009). "Mientkiewicz dislocates shoulder: Utility man likely headed to DL; DeWitt, Paul may get call". Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  19. Ken Gurnick (March 27, 2010). "Veteran Mientkiewicz leaves camp". Archived from the original on March 30, 2010. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  20. Joe Frisaro (May 14, 2010). "Mientkiewicz opts out of Minors deal". Archived from the original on May 20, 2010. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  21. Juan C. Rodriguez (May 14, 2010). "Florida Marlins release Miami native Doug Mientkiewicz". Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
  22. "Doug Mientkiewicz to manage Miracle in 2013". December 10, 2012. Archived from the original on December 20, 2012. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  23. Jim Souhan (June 4, 2014). "Souhan: Mientkiewicz is all business as a manager". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  24. "Winning streak ends as Cards down Miracle 5-3". April 17, 2013. Archived from the original on May 21, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  25. Seth Stohs (April 30, 2013). "Twins Minor League Report (4/30): Amazing April in A Ball". Twins Daily. Archived from the original on May 4, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  26. Aaron Gleeman (October 2, 2014). "Twins interview Doug Mientkiewicz for manager opening". Hardball Talk. NBC Sports. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  27. "Mientkiewicz interviews for Twins managing job". Star Tribune. October 3, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  28. "Byron Buxton on fired manager Doug Mientkiewicz: 'More of a brother to us'". September 16, 2017.
  29. "Doug Mientkiewicz named new Hens manager". November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  30. Buckey, Brian (October 31, 2019). "Tigers fire Mud Hens manager Mientkiewicz". Retrieved October 31, 2019.
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