Three decades ago long before Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson became Minnesota baseball institutions John Gibbons was with them at Triple-A Tidewater.

A fast-rising prospect in the New York Mets system Gibbons often caught Anderson the soft-spoken right-hander from the University of Washington.

Gibbons usually caught heck from the loud-mouthed shortstop from the University of Texas Ron Gardenhire.

"They're two of a kind" Gibbons now managing the Toronto Blue Jays said recently. "Both are wonderful guys and good baseball guys."

This is the 12th consecutive season of a Gardenhire-Anderson pairing with the Twins easily the longest-running active combination of big-league manager and pitching coach since Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan retired from the St. Louis Cardinals after a 29-year run (1983-2011).

They entered Saturday's 12-6 loss to Cleveland two wins shy of 1000 for their tenure ranking them among the top manager-pitching coach combinations in history yet neither man has a contract beyond this season.

All of that will be sorted out soon after the Twins' third straight 90-loss season ends Sunday afternoon. In recent days however there has been ample opportunity to consider their legacy across a dozen seasons that have included six postseason trips.

"You don't accomplish what they've done unless you're good baseball guys" Gibbons said. "Minnesota hasn't always gotten the big power arms over the years. They get pitchers and so many of them pitch just the way Uncle Andy did."

Anderson who made 15 outings (five starts) for the 1986 World Series champion Mets never had overpowering stuff. The same for better or worse has been true of the bulk of his pitching staffs.

"Andy was never a physical-type guy; he was just an artist man" Gibbons said. "When I see a lot of these Twins pitching I see Rick Anderson. They can carve the plate up. They throw off-speed pitches at any time. I know he's had a great impact on those guys."

Twins bench coach Terry Steinbach spent his first nine full seasons in Oakland playing for La Russa and Duncan who piled up nearly 2500 regular-season victories six pennants and three World Series titles.