MINNEAPOLIS -Change remains the operative word for the Minnesota Twins this off season, as word came Monday that longtime Minor League Operations Director Jim Rantz will step down at the end of the year.

The 75-year-old Rantz made the announcement at the Twins organizational meetings in Ft. Myers, Fla.

"This has been an incredible journey for me and for my family and I look forward to spending more time with my wife, Pearl, our four childrenand their spouses, and nine grandchildren," said Rantz.

Rantz has been a member of the Twins organization sincethe team'sinception in 1961 after signing his first professional contract with the Washington Senators in 1960. After spending five years as a player and manager he joined the Twins front office following the 1965 season, spending four years as Assistant Public Relations Director before moving into the minor league and scouting department.

The Twins named Rantz Director of Minor League Operations in January of 1986.In addition to handling minor league player contract negotiations, Rantz worked closely with the Twins' six minor league affiliates where he was responsible for player moves and for the development of young talent for the Major League club.

Under the guidance of Rantz, the Twins organization was named Topps' Organization of the Year in 2000 and again recognized by Baseball America as Organization of the Year in 2002 and 2004. In 2008, he was selected by minor league baseball as the first recipient of the Sheldon "Chief" Bender award for distinguished service, player development and fostering good relationships with the organization's affiliates.

"I am proud of our staff's many accomplishments," said Rantz, "and still get a thrill when a young player advances through our system and plays in the Major Leagues."

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