The American League Championship Series came to a close on Saturday, Oct. 19 in Boston, Massachusetts, as the Detroit Tigers fell to the Boston Red Sox in game six of the seven-game series, losing 2-5.
The Detroit Tigers, who were on their way to a third World Series trip under the wing of manager Jim Leyland, had failed to close the game with a win and excel over the Red Sox.
With the pain of the recent loss still stinging for the team, it was a sudden press conference that was called by the Tigers managerial staff that really caught the attention of Detroiters and the MLB alike.
“I want to retire a Tiger. So long. It’s not goodbye,” said Leyland at the conference.
The words echoed through the mind of every Tigers fan as the unthinkable became a reality.
Jim Leyland, approaching the ripe age of 69, decided to retire from the game of baseball as a Detroit Tiger on Oct. 21, 2013.
Leyland, after a 22 year career in the MLB, has 1,769 wins under his belt, along with a 1997 World Series win with the Florida Marlins.
Informing the team in a rather unconventional, yet personal way, Leyland confronted the team about his retirement immediately after the loss to Boston in the team clubhouse.
Justin Verlander, the Tigers’ Cy Young award winning pitcher took the announcement graciously, simply telling Leyland that he loved him.
Leyland served more than two decades in the MLB with the Pittsburgh Pirates, (’86-’96) the Florida Marlins, (’97 & ’98) the Colorado Rockies for a year in ’99 and after an extended break, took a job with the Tigers in 2006.
The big question on the mind of most Tigers fans is what will happen next, and the only answer is to wait and see whom General Manager Dave Dombrowski will appoint as the new manager.
With this newly confirmed departure of Leyland, the MLB has five teams in need of a manager for the next season, including the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds.
Widely known as a man who sported a stone face, and was respectfully vulgar when addressing the press, Leyland will be missed in the City of Detroit.
Our ball caps go off to you, Mr. Leyland, in hopes of an ongoing friendship between you, and the Detroit Tigers organization.