Currently in his seventh season as Detroit Tigers manager, Jim Leyland has consistently found himself under scrutiny for just about anything he does that is baseball related. Of course, he is managing the American League Central Division Champions for the second-straight season, so he had to have done something right with a half a billion-dollar talent pool from which to draw, right?
Many, in recent days, cite the fact that he still doesn't have a contract for future seasons in Motown as the lending to the possibility that the Tigers are looking at going in a different direction, with Terry Francona spoken of, most often, at being a possible replacement. Whether or not Detroit has these visions of separation, another factor seems to be more likely. That being the possibility Leyland has made known the intent to ride into the sunset.
After the Tigers clinched the Central Division crown on Monday, October 1, Leyland was extremely emotional in speaking about becoming the first Tigers' manager, since Hugh Jennings, to take the franchise to the playoffs three times. In a classy and candid statement he thanked all the fans, media personnel and the Tigers staff for supporting the team throughout the season. Through his teary eyes, the more telling part of his statement was what he didn't say.
Reflecting back on the speeches, interviews and rumors as to whether Leyland will return next season. It does become a likely scenario that, behind the scenes, Leyland made his intention to retire after the season, answering the question as to why no contract extension was made prior, during the season, as has been done over the past few years.
If this really is the end of Leyland's career as a Major League manager, he leaves with one of the most puzzling resumes in baseball history. One of the most respected managers in the game, according to many others in the same position, Leyland's managerial record stands at 1675-1658, through October 2. He has been named Manager of the Year in both the National (twice in 1990, 1992) and American (2006) Leagues. He won a National League pennant and a World Series title with Florida in 1996 and an American League pennant in 2006 with the Tigers.
His relationship with his team and the fans has been nothing short of a love/hate collision. He is loved by his players, past and present, as evident by the overly-emotional bear hug given by first-baseman and potential American League Most Valuable Player, Miguel Cabrera, during Monday night's championship celebration. He is, conversely, despised by many fans and media personalities, thanks to his penchant to value loyalty over performance, when it comes to setting his lineups. Many feel that the team underachieved because of this, given the talent general manager Dave Dombrowski put in front of him. Regardless of whether you loved of hated the man, should this be his last season in Detroit, he should be remembered for the whole of his accomplishments here.The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.
- Sports & Recreation
- Detroit Tigers
- Jim Leyland