The 68-year-old said he’ll remain with the American League ball club in a new position that’s yet to
be decided upon. Leyland said he actually came to his decision back on September 7 when his team was blown out by the Kansas City Royals. He then informed his players after the Tigers were eliminated from the American League Championship Series by the Boston Red Sox on October 19.
Leyland enjoyed a 22-year managerial career in MLB with the last eight of them being in Detroit. He claimed that he didn’t have the same energy and passion for the game anymore and puts that down to his age. He stated that he didn’t think it was fair to the organization and the fans to hang onto the job just for the sake of it. He said the same thing when he resigned from the Colorado Rockies back in 1999, but it’s doubtful he’ll change his mind this time.
Mike Ilitch, the owner of the Tigers, thanked Leyland for all of his hard work with the club and added that he’s been an instrumental person for the franchise both on and off of the ball diamond. Ilitch said there’s still room in the organization for the former Minor League catcher and they’ll soon decide what the best position for him is. Leyland managed in Detroit’s farm system for more than 10 years before getting a break as a Major League coach with the Chicago White Sox early in the 1980s.
His first managerial job came with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He led the team to three straight National League East championships from 1990 to 1992. He joined the Florida Marlins in 1997 and led the club to their first-ever postseason appearance and then to the World Series title. However, the team was blown apart during the offseason and lost 108 games the following year. He then joined the Rockies for the 1999 season and intended to call it quits at the end of the campaign.
Leyland always wanted to manage the Tigers though and was hired to take over the team prior to the 2006 season. Detroit hadn’t won a World Series since 1984 and hadn’t made the playoffs since 1993. He led them to the World Series in his first season with the Tigers after securing a wild card playoff spot, but they dropped the series in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals.
In eight seasons with Detroit, Leyland made the postseason four times and the team posted a winning record six times. He won the AL Central title three times and made it back to the World Series in 2012, but were swept by the San Francisco Giants. Leyland won 700 regular-season games with Detroit, which ranks him third on the all-time list. He won a total 1,769 ball games during his career, which is 15th best in MLB history. Also, he made the playoffs eight times, which ranks him tied for seventh place.
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