Detroit Tigers' Manager Jim Leyland Resigns

Surprise Announcement Follows Tigers Loss To Red Sox In ALCS

Monday, October 21, 2013
Former Braves Manager Bobby Cox speaking with Jim Leyland.
Former Braves Manager Bobby Cox speaking with Jim Leyland.
- photo by Tim Evearitt

Jim Leyland is stepping down as manager of the Tigers, and he will announce his decision today at a news conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET at Comerica Park.

FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, who first reported the news, said the 68-year-old Leyland told the Tigers players of his plans after Saturday's loss to the Red Sox in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. A source confirmed the report to MLB.com.

The decision ends Leyland's eight-year tenure leading the team he grew up with, first as a Minor League catcher and then as a manager in its farm system. This season was his 50th in professional baseball, 22 of them managing at the big league level, the last eight in Detroit.

He built the Pittsburgh Pirates into a perennial contender on a small-market budget in the early 1990s, winning three consecutive National League East titles from 1990-92, then won a long-awaited World Series with the Florida Marlins in 1997, only to watch both teams enter rebuilding projects. After a disappointing 1999 season managing in Colorado, he stepped down and seemed ready for retirement.

For years, however, he dreamed about a chance to manage Detroit. He took the job after the 2005 season and led a Tigers team that hadn't had a winning record since 1993 to heights it hadn't seen since its World Series-winning season of 1984.

The 2006 Tigers, Leyland's first team, won the AL Wild Card and went to the World Series, falling to the Cardinals in five games. It was a Cinderella story for a franchise that had seemed mired in mediocrity, but it was the start of a team that contended just about every year.

Six of Leyland's eight Tigers squads finished with a winning record. Four of them went to the playoffs. The last three won the AL Central title and advanced to at least the ALCS. Though they were swept by the Giants, the Tigers reached the World Series last year. Leyland joined Hughie Jennings from a century ago as the only managers to lead the Tigers to three consecutive postseason berths.

In all three seasons, Leyland worked without a contract for the following year. He had decided to go year-to-year with his deal, he said, following the example of his good friend, former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, to avoid a long-term commitment if he didn't want to manage anymore or if the Tigers wanted to go in a different direction.

There were no signs that Leyland was ready to call it quits. As recently as this summer, he talked about wanting to manage beyond next year, and he said that his energy level was good. Team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com during the AL Division Series that Leyland was welcome as long as he wanted to manage.

Leyland's 700 regular-season managerial wins are the third-most in Tigers history, trailing only Sparky Anderson (1,331) and Jennings (1,131). His .540 winning percentage as Tigers manager ranks only behind Steve O'Neill (.551 from 1943-48) among managers with at least 500 wins.

Leyland's 1,769 wins overall rank 15th all-time among Major League managers. His eight playoff appearances tie him for seventh on the all-time list, a group that includes La Russa, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Hall of Famers Casey Stengel, John McGraw, Joe McCarthy and Connie Mack.

----- Source: MLB.com

Jim Leyland
Jim Leyland
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt


Randy Smith: Calling All Umpires

There is a nation wide shortage of high school sports officials, that's a plain and simple fact. In California for instance there are many prep baseball and softball games played with just one umpire. It happens in other states as well and even in upper east Tennessee, there are many games played with a single ump. In Chattanooga the problem isn't quite that severe. Only a handful ... (click for more)

Cleveland Wrestlers Maintain Top Spot In State Wrestling Poll

The Cleveland Blue Raider wrestling team is still #1 in the latest state coaches poll.   Cleveland won their own dual tournament this weekend.  McCallie is second and Baylor is fifth followed by Bradley in sixth.   Now in its 26th year, The Poll is primarily a measure of  dual meet strength  with some consideration to individual tournament ... (click for more)

Witness Says Mayes Wanted To Fire More Shots Into Man Who Owed Him Money

A woman testified Tuesday that Jamaal Mayes told her he wanted to shoot Willie "Fathead" Bacon "five or six more times" after plugging him with a fatal shot to the chest. General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom bound charges of criminal homicide and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon to the Grand Jury after the testimony. The 39-year-old victim's body was found ... (click for more)

Overflow Crowd Attends Latest Signal Mountain Meeting On Leaving County Schools

The December meeting of the Signal Mountain Town Council was for the most part devoted to giving citizens another chance to voice their opinions and ask questions about forming a new school district separate from Hamilton County. More people interested in the subject came than could be admitted to the council room because of fire capacity and the crowd overflowed into the lobby. ... (click for more)

All I Want For Christmas Are Digitized Newspapers For 2018 - And Response

With recent news of the Public Library investing in their own StoryCorps-ish effort with the Chattanooga Memory Project, it got me thinking about digitizing local newspapers again.   It's been two and a half years since the Chattanooga Public Library committed to sending out a request for proposals to digitize the local newspapers they have on microfilm. Back in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Top Of My Desk

I am always pleasantly amused when people ask me how I can come up with something different to write about each day. The truth is that it is a rare day indeed when there isn’t something I want to share. As I sat down at my desk yesterday and looked about, I laughed at myself because there were several stacks each worthy of a story so please allow me to present “the best of” the ... (click for more)