Former Twins player, manager Quilici dies after lengthy illness

Frank Quilici, a former Minnesota Twins player, coach, manager and broadcaster, died Monday at the age of 79 after a lengthy illness.

Quilici joined the Twins in July 1965 as a 26-year-old rookie and played 56 games, with 42 starts, down the stretch as Minnesota won the American League pennant. He hit just .204 that season, however committed only two errors while playing second base and shortstop.

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Due to an injury to Jerry Kindall, Quilici played all seven games in that year’s World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which the Twins lost four games to three. Quilici went 4 for 20, but set a World Series record by collecting two hits in one inning, a six-run third, off Dodgers starter Don Drysdale in Game 1.

Quilici would return to the majors in 1967 and for the next four years served as a utility player. He appeared in 405 games in his career with a lifetime .214 batting average and .993 fielding percentage at second base. He also played third, short and first in his career, all of which was spent with the Twins.

After the 1970 season, in which Quilici appeared in all three games of the American League Championship Series, going 0 for 2, he joined Minnesota as a coach. In 1972 he was named manager after Bill Rigney was fired in midseason and kept the job until 1975.

Quilici was 280-287 in his 3 1/2 years as Twins manager, but twice led them to a .500 or better record, including 82-80 in 1974.

Moving from the field to the broadcast booth, Quilici would serve as a radio commentator on Twins games from 1976-77, 1980-82 and 1987.

The team released a statement on Quilici:

“The Minnesota Twins mourn the passing of Frank Quilici. Frank not only exemplified professionalism as a player, coach, manager and broadcaster for the Twins, he also served as a community leader in the Twin Cities working to make sure youth had recreational opportunities and contributed to many other charitable causes. The club, like many of his friends throughout the game, is thinking of the Quilici family during this difficult time.”

In 2011, a field in Minneapolis was named after Quilici and in 2013 he was honored with the Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service. Quilici was a former member of the board of directors of the Twins Community Fund and former President of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.