Jim Leyland, the third-winningest manager in Detroit Tigers franchise history, today announced his retirement after eight seasons as the team's manager. Leyland, 68, guided the Tigers to their third straight American League Central Division Championship this season and leaves the game ranked 15th all-time in managerial wins (1,769).
"On behalf of the entire Detroit Tigers organization, we thank Jim for everything he has done for this franchise over the past eight seasons," said Tigers President, CEO and General Manager, David Dombrowski. "Jim's tenure will be looked back on as one of the great eras in Tigers history; an era that included two World Series appearances, four ALCS appearances in eight seasons, three division titles and two American League pennants. It has truly been an honor to work with one of the great managers in the history of the game."
"We want to thank Jim for everything he has done over the past eight years to steer the ship, and lead our ballclub to some exciting times in this town," stated Tigers' owner Michael Ilitch. "Jim has been instrumental in the franchise's most recent success on and off the field, and we are forever grateful. We wish the best to Jim and his family in the future."
"It has been a huge honor to have been the Tigers manager for the past eight seasons, so many wonderful days and nights at Comerica Park with almost every seat filled. I can't thank you enough for your support," said Jim Leyland. "When I came here all I wanted was a chance and you gave me that. I hope you do the same for your next manager. My goal coming here was to turn talent into team, and with the help of the entire organization, we did that. This is not a good bye, it's a so long, as I will be accepting another position in the organization yet to be determined. I hope you enjoyed me as much as I enjoyed you."
Leyland was named the Tigers 36th manager on October 4, 2005 and guided Detroit to 700 wins at the helm, third-most in franchise history. Sparky Anderson (1,331 wins) and Hughie Jennings (1,131 wins) are the only two Tigers skippers with more wins. The Tigers advanced to the postseason four times during Leyland's managerial career with the club, including three straight division titles (2011-2013), two American League pennants (2006, 2012) and two World Series appearances. Leyland joined Hughie Jennings as the only two managers in Tigers history to lead the club to the postseason in three-or-more seasons. He was the third manager in franchise history to guide a Tigers club to the World Series multiple times, joining Hughie Jennings and Mickey Cochrane.
Leyland guided a club to the postseason eight times in his 22 seasons as a Major League manager and compiled a 44-40 record (.524) during the playoffs. He led the Pittsburgh Pirates to three straight National League East Division titles (1990-92), and he captured the National League Wild Card with the Florida Marlins in 1997. His 1997 Marlins went on to defeat the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series.
Leyland is 14th all-time in games managed with 3,499, including 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-96), two with the Florida Marlins (1997-98) and one with the Colorado Rockies (1999). He ranks third on the Tigers all-time games managed list with 1,297.
Leyland's Tigers teams finished above .500 in six of his eight seasons at the helm. Detroit has surpassed three million in season attendance four times in franchise history, all during Leyland's Tigers managerial career (2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013).