Jim Leyland retired as manager of the Detroit Tigers after eight years in which he led them to three 90-win seasons and two World Series appearances.
Leyland, 68, announced the decision today in a televised news conference at Comerica Park in Detroit, two days after the Tigers lost to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.
“I spent the last 24 hours telling myself I would not get emotional today, and I’m not going to,” said Leyland, who later battled back tears while thanking members of the Tigers’ organization. “It has been a thrill.”
The wins leader among active Major League Baseball managers, Leyland has been on a one-year contract extension for the last two seasons, according to ESPN.
Leyland said he informed General Manager Dave Dombrowski of his decision in early September. He said he told his players after the final loss in Boston.
“I didn’t know how to take it when they clapped,” he said with a grin.
The Tigers were 93-69 this season, finishing atop the AL Central for the third consecutive season. Last year the team was swept in four games in the World Series by the San Francisco Giants. Detroit fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in a five-game World Series in 2006, Leyland’s first season as manager.
“These last eight years have been a very memorable time for the Detroit Tigers’ organization,” Dombrowski said. “We will miss him a great deal in the dugout, on the field.”
In 22 major-league seasons with the Tigers, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates, Leyland is 1,769-1,728. A three-time Manager of the Year winner, he captured a World Series title with the Marlins in 1997.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy will become baseball’s active leader in wins with 1,530.
Leyland said he will remain with the Tigers in a role that is yet to be determined.
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