Detroit, MI, United States (4E Sports) – After eight years, Jim Leyland announced his resignation as manager of the Detroit Tigers but will remain with the organization in another capacity.
“It’s not goodbye, because I will be in the organization doing something,” an emotional Leyland said during a news conference at Comerica Park.
The 68-year-old Leyland informed his players of his plans after losing to the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
Earlier, he also informed club president and general manager Dave Dombrowski of his decision on Sept. 7 in Kansas City.
Leyland also announced that he has accepted a different position, to be determined, with the club.
“We want to thank Jim for everything he has done over the past eight years to steer the ship and lead our ballclub to some exciting times in this town,” Tigers owner Mike Ilitch said.
“Jim has been instrumental in the franchise’s most recent success on and off the field, and we are forever grateful. We wish the best to Jim and his family in the future,” Ilitch added.
Leyland played for the Tigers’ Minor League team as a catcher and then worked as 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.
After a disappointing 1999 season managing in Colorado, he stepped down and looked headed for retirement.
Leyland took the job after the 2005 season and led a Tigers team that hadn’t had a winning record since 1993. 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.
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 behind Steve O’Neill’s .551 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.