It’s been eight years. Eight long years. No Detroit Tigers manager has seen as much success with the organization since Sparky Anderson who led Detroit to a 1984 World Series victory and multiple other playoff appearances. Jim Leyland‘s reign as Tigers manager has come to an end and it is as bittersweet as it comes. Making two world series appearances with no victories with the team, Leyland has decided he will step down as the manager of the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
No other manager has meant as much to their team over the last decade than Leyland has. The Tigers succeeded with him and failed with him — he was the oil to the engine. Players and fellow coaches adored the 68-year-old manager who seemingly never had a smile on his face — that is, until he had to.
Leyland was a great manager for this team. He fit the organization perfectly. He was tough, gritty and hungry for victories, willing to do whatever it took to win — just like the city of Detroit.
It’s hard to see the guy go. As a baseball fan, having the winningest active manager step down from an organization that he brought to four playoff appearances, two World Series appearances, three ALCS appearances and three division titles in just eight seasons, it’s tough.
This guy was the epitome of a solid manager. He’s seen it all. He’s won world championships, he’s played the game and he’s been so close to winning multiple.
For the city of Detroit, it’s the end of an era. Sure, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander will be around for quite some time, but a new manager will mean a change of culture.
I’m not saying this team won’t be back as contenders because they will certainly be favorites to win the Central Divsion once again in 2014, but there will never be another Leyland in the dugout. For all the criticism he received, he pulled this team out of the gutter in 2006 and led them to an unlikely World Series appearance just three years after their 119 loss season.
The Tigers will pray to have another just like him.