Piniella to enter Mariners' Hall of Fame
Longtime manager will be inducted Aug. 9, becoming eighth Seattle honoree
SEATTLE -- Lou Piniella, the only manager with a winning record in the history of the Mariners, will become the eighth member of the organization's Hall of Fame when he's inducted on Aug. 9, the club announced Thursday.
Piniella will be honored at a luncheon at Safeco Field on Aug. 8, then inducted into the team's Hall of Fame the following day prior to that evening's game against the White Sox.
Piniella, 70, joins the seven current members of the Mariners' Hall of Fame -- Alvin Davis, Dave Niehaus, Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, Dan Wilson and Ken Griffey Jr.
Piniella took the Mariners to their first playoff appearance in 1995, and he wound up managing four postseason teams -- including the 116-win club in 2001 -- while posting an 840-711 record (.542 percent) in his 10 seasons in Seattle.
In 23 years as a Major League manager with the Yankees (1986-88), Reds (1990-92), Mariners (1993-2002), Rays (2003-05) and Cubs (2007-10), Piniella had a career .517 winning percentage (1,835-1,712) and won Manager of the Year honors in 1995, 2001 and 2008.
Players who competed for Piniella said he changed the entire culture of the Mariners upon his arrival.
"Lou Piniella was bigger than life," said Buhner. "There was no question what the goal was every day when the players walked into the clubhouse -- win tonight's game. Anything less was not acceptable."
Wilson, who played for Piniella both with the Reds and then the Mariners, said he owed a lot in his career to the fiery skipper.
"I'm super excited for him," Wilson said. "The fans just love to see him, and I can't wait to hear that ovation when they introduce his name into the Hall of Fame. It's very well deserved. He's a guy that demanded your respect, demanded your best every day.
"Nobody in the ballpark wanted to win more than Lou, especially when we were in New York. He was a manager you loved to play for, because you knew he was in your corner and would do everything he could do that day to win a ballgame. It was a lot of fun playing for him."
As a player, Piniella was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the 1968-69 expansion draft, but he was traded to the Kansas City Royals during Spring Training in 1969. In a 16-year career, he compiled a .291 batting average with 1,705 hits, 102 home runs, 305 doubles and 766 RBIs.
Piniella and his wife, Anita, are living in their hometown of Tampa, Fla., and he plans to provide color commentary on several Yankees telecasts again in 2014.