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01/07/11 10:36 AM EST

Longtime Twins executive Bell retires

Longtime Twins executive Jerry Bell announced his retirement on Thursday, according to local media reports.

Bell, a member of the Twins' organization for 23 years, served as the team's president from 1987-2002, then was appointed president of Twins Sports Inc. and spearheaded the team's campaign to get a new ballpark. Through a total of 23 years with the organization, he witnessed two World Series championships (in 1987 and '91) and the opening of Target Field for the 2010 season.

Though he's retiring, Bell will keep an office at Target Field and plans to continue to help the organization with special projects, according to The Associated Press and The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

"Jerry's imprint on the Twins' organization is deep and very significant," Dave St. Peter, who succeeded Bell as Twins president, told the AP. "Really, his focus over the course of the last 10-15 years was ensuring the long-term viability of baseball in Minnesota. His heart and soul is very evident in Target Field, and he can feel very proud where this franchise is today."

Bell is credited for his work in overseeing the planning and construction of the Twins' new ballpark, which became a necessity during a down period after the '91 title, when the conditions of the Metrodome sparked talks of the team moving or perhaps even being contracted.

Bell's efforts led to Target Field becoming a reality, and he also helped the Twins move its Spring Training headquarters from Orlando to Fort Myers, Fla., home of the Lee County Sports Complex.

Bell was named the Twins' third president after serving as executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which he joined upon its inception in 1977. Bell has also served as a member of Major League Baseball's Professional Baseball Association Committee/Baseball Operations Committee and the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee.

"Everything was worth it," Bell told the Star-Tribune.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Gonzo and 'The Show'. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.