Following a heartbreaking 2-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced that he is stepping down.
Leyland informed the Tigers of his decision late Saturday night during the flight back from Boston. Leyland told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports that his players clapped after his announcement, and in his customary self-deprecating manner, added that he didn't know what to make of the applause.
The decision, which was made official in a press conference at Comerica Park on Monday, had been finalised in September even before the Tigers made the postseason.
"I'm going to be 69 years old. I'm not ashamed of that. I'm proud of it. The fuel's getting a little low," Leyland told the press on Monday.
While Saturday's ALCS game was the last of his career as a manager, he will still be with the Tigers in another capacity.
"I want to retire a Tiger ... From the bottom of my heart thank you for having me."
He then waxed nostalgic about his stay in Detroit.
"What's gone on here has been unbelievable. We've won a lot of games, we've had a lot of seats filled. I came here to make talent a team, and I think we did that."
Leyland has an overall Major League record of 1769-1728, with a winning percentage of .506. On September 25, he won his 700th game in eight years with the Tigers. He has been a manager since 1986 when he started with the Pittsburgh Pirates, moving over to the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies before he left managing after the 1999 season. He won a World Series with the Marlins, was named Manager of the Year thrice (1990, 1992 and 2006), and is one of only five managers to win pennants in both the National and American Leagues.
The legendary manager went back to Detroit, where he was a catcher in 1963, and led the Tigers to two World Series appearances in 2006 and 2012.
Leyland's retirement creates another opening in the fast-changing MLB managerial landscape. The Tigers are now without a manager, along with the Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.
Watch the replay of Jim Leyland's retirement press conference below:
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