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Twins Ambassador Frank Quilici Passes Away At 79

On Monday night, the Minnesota Twins announced the death of one of their all-time great ambassadors, Frank Quilici. Quilici has been involved in the Twins organization since signing with the team in 1961. He has fulfilled just about every role imaginable, and while he hasn't been on the field since 1975, he has continued to represent the Twins organization.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Frank Quilici, Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek)
Frank Quilici passed away on Monday at the age of 79, but he has represented the Minnesota Twins for nearly 60 years.

The Twins originally signed Frank Quilici as an amateur player before the 1961 season. He toiled in the Twins minor league system until making his major-league debut in 1965. He spent time with the Twins that season and then again from 1967 through 1970. To me, it was interesting that he played in all seven games of the 1965 World Series and then spent the entire 1966 season in Triple-A.

His playing career was nothing to write home about. In 405 career games, he hit just .214/.281/.287 (.569) with 23 doubles, six triples and five home runs. He was a utility infielder, capable of playing all three spots pretty well.

But even while playing, it was clear that coaching would be a part of his future. 1970 was his final season as a Twins player, and he was added to the Twins coaching staff for the 1971 and 1972 seasons. Late in the 1972 season, he took over as manager for the final 84 games. He was just 33 years old.

He managed the team through the 1975 season. Over that time, he compiled a record of 280-287. The Twins finished just above .500 in the 1973 and 1974 seasons.

Despite being let go, he was part of the WCCO radio team with legendary Herb Carneal during the 1976 and 1977 seasons, and again from 1980-1982. Dick Bremer pointed out on the Monday night telecast that they were partners on TV for some time.

And since then, Quilici has remained very active in the community. He has been a member of the board of directors of the Twins Community Fund, and he was the President of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation for some time. In 2013, he was honored with the Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service.

There are other names that come to mind when people think of the Minnesota Twins, but few have served the organization in more ways or for more time than Frank Quilici.

I am guessing that there are several of our Twins Daily readers who remember Quilici's playing days, or at least his managerial days. More likely, I'm guessing that several of you have had the opportunity to meet or shake hands with Quilici at some point in time at a Twins-related event. Please feel free to share your thoughts and stories regarding Frank Quilici.

Best wishes to the family of Frank Quilici as well as those in the Twins organization who knew him well.


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10 Comments

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IndianaTwin
May 14 2018 09:54 PM
The best year of my childhood was 1977, so I remember many sign-ons with Herb Carneal and Frank Quilici.
    • glunn and nicksaviking like this
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Aerodeliria
May 14 2018 10:42 PM

He had the funniest color commentary I've ever heard. A friend and I were watching a game where he was the color man. I think the Twins were in the field and someone hit a chopper between third and short and it managed to get through for a single. Frank Quilici said, "There's a seeing-eye dog into left field." I think he wanted to say something like, "That ball had eyes," or "That's a seeing-eye ground ball into left field." Anyway, my friend and I were rolling on the floor. It's a good memory.

 

    • glunn and nicksaviking like this

Rest in peace Frank.

    • nicksaviking likes this

Always very sad to hear news like thisSure, I remember the Quilici days, both as player and manager. I recall seeing him in Spring Training when the Twins played games in Orlando back in the early 1970s. One thing that surprised me that Seth wrote: I didn't realize that he was only 33 years old when he became the Twins manager. That's mind boggling!

    • glunn and nicksaviking like this
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Parker Hageman
May 15 2018 07:41 AM

 

He had the funniest color commentary I've ever heard. A friend and I were watching a game where he was the color man. I think the Twins were in the field and someone hit a chopper between third and short and it managed to get through for a single. Frank Quilici said, "There's a seeing-eye dog into left field." I think he wanted to say something like, "That ball had eyes," or "That's a seeing-eye ground ball into left field." Anyway, my friend and I were rolling on the floor. It's a good memory.

 

He also is credited with one of the better (?) lines from a commentator when talking about a pitcher:

 

"He's just like a surgeon, going after his prey."

 

 

    • Seth Stohs, glunn, nicksaviking and 1 other like this
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Nine of twelve
May 15 2018 09:40 AM
Underappreciated as a manager and underappreciated as a broadcaster (except maybe in this thread). He used to say things on the air about in-game strategy that foreshadowed actual moves by managers.
    • glunn and nicksaviking like this

I had his baseball card when he was the Twins manager - one of the few last names that started with a Q.I didn't realize he was so young when he managed. Associated with the Twins for most of his career in a variety of roles - sounds like a wonderful life. 

    • glunn, Jerr and nicksaviking like this

I remember reading somewhere that, as a player, Quilici was a Billy Martin favorite. It may have been in the Jim Theilman book about the '65 Twins - but I'm not sure. Martin was the 3B coach on the '65 team and Quilici came up in July that year and ended up starting in the World Series when Jerry Kindall got injured. (The eventual end to Kindall's MLB career - although he went on to be a legendary college coach at Arizona) Quilici would have also played for Billy when Martin managed the team in 1969.

 

Does anyone else recall this?

 

    • glunn and nicksaviking like this

Great guy and lots of memories, listening to

and seeing him play.

    • glunn and nicksaviking like this

Born and raised on Chicago's south side in a neighborhood that had always been heavily Italian.Two hits off Drysdale in game 1 of the '65 series, and one of the Twins 3 hits against Koufax in game 7.Had a ton of respect from the likes of Killebrew and Carew.He was a baseball guy.

 

A life well lived.Rest in peace, Frank.