Leyland named grand marshal of Thanksgiving Parade
DETROIT -- Jim Leyland never won the World Series title he craved for Detroit. He'll still be going out with a parade. The recently-retired Tigers manager will be celebrated on Thanksgiving Day as the grand marshal of America's Thanksgiving Parade.
The annual event starts in Midtown Detroit and runs down Woodward Avenue, ending near Campus Martius Park downtown. The nearly three-mile route runs past Comerica Park, where Leyland went to work for eight seasons.
It'll be a chance for Leyland to thank the fans whose support over the years made him emotional at times, including at his retirement announcement last week.
"This has been something really special," he said last week. "We'll never get to the top of the special list because we didn't win a World Series, but what's going on here has been unbelievable."
Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Company, made the announcement on WDIV-TV in Detroit, which telecasts the parade each year.
"Thanksgiving Day -- what a way to say thanks to Tigers fans and Detroit for everything they did for me," Leyland said on the broadcast. "It's a day for give thanks, and certainly I'm grateful for what happened to me in my eight years up there. Hopefully some of the people appreciated what we were able to do, so it's a perfect day, really."
Michaels said they approached Leyland and the Tigers with the announcement last week, shortly after Leyland's retirement.
"It just seemed like the right thing to do," he said, "and he accepted immediately."
Leyland wrapped up his eight-year tenure ranked third in franchise history in wins with 700, trailing only Hall of Famers Sparky Anderson and Hughie Jennings. His .540 winning percentage ranked fourth-highest among Tigers managers with at least 500 games.
Four of Leyland's Tigers teams reached the postseason, including three consecutive American League Central titles and three straight runs to the AL Championship Series.
The parade begins Thanksgiving morning at 8:45 a.m. ET at the corner of Woodward and Kirby. Parade viewing is free to the public along the route. Grandstand tickets are on sale, starting at $40. More information is available at theparade.org.