Jim Leyland’s face stared out from the video board at an empty Comerica Park, next to that familiar Olde English “D” and a message that said simply: “Thank You Jim.”
After eight seasons managing the Tigers, including three division titles and two American League pennants, Leyland stepped down Monday.
“It’s been a thrill,” the 68-year-old Leyland said. “I came here to change talent to team, and I think with the help of this entire organization, I think we’ve done that.”
Leyland made his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986, and from Barry Bonds to Miguel Cabrera, he’s managed some of the sport’s biggest stars and been involved in some of the most memorable games.
In 1992, his Pirates lost Game 7 of the NLCS when Atlanta rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning. Five years later, Leyland won his only World Series title as manager when his Florida Marlins beat Cleveland.
The Tigers figure to contend again next year, which may lead Dombrowski to look for a proven commodity who can come in and manage. Kirk Gibson, who led Detroit to the 1984 World Series title as a player, is now managing in Arizona, but Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall tried to quash any speculation that Gibson would return to the Tigers.
“We would not grant permission (to the Tigers to talk to Gibson) if asked because we want him here, and he told me this morning he has no interest in leaving,” Hall said.
Leyland is 1,769-1,728 with the Tigers, Pirates, Marlins and Rockies.
When Leyland took over the Tigers, they had gone 12 years without a winning season. During his tenure, they finished under .500 only once.
REPORT: REDS HIRE PRICE
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported the Reds will promote pitching coach Bryan Price to manager, replacing the fired Dusty Baker. Price was pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners from 2001-06.
Blocked from holding a news conference Monday to present a person they described as a “major league baseball whistleblower,” Alex Rodriguez’s lawyers asked that the rest of the grievance hearing to overturn his 211-game drug suspension be opened to the public. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz issued an order restraining them from “conducting any press conference or briefing regarding the subject matter of the hearing.” Rodriguez’s lawyers would not say whether the “whistleblower” worked for Major League Baseball, one of its teams or some other affiliate. … Don Mattingly said he isn’t sure he’ll be back as Dodgers manager. He said the organization put him in a difficult position with his players by not exercising a team option going into the final year of his three-year deal. … Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. … Miguel Cabrera may need surgery to repair a strained groin, but he is expected to recover by next season, according to the Tigers. … Tim Bogar was hired as bench coach for the Rangers.