Jim Leyland is ready for retirement, stepping down as manager of the Detroit Tigers.
“I’m going to be 69 years old,” Leyland said at a press conference Monday. “I’m not ashamed of that. I’m proud of it. The fuel’s getting a little low.”
Leyland, who turns 69 in December, helped turn around the Tigers in seven seasons as manager, including three American League Central Division titles and two World Series appearances. The Tigers went to the American League Championship Series three straight years.
“What’s gone on here has been unbelievable. We’ve won a lot of games, we’ve had a lot of seats filled,” Leyland said. “I came here to make talent a team, and I think we did that.”
Leyland reportedly told his players following a Game 6 loss in the ALCS at Boston on Saturday night that it was time for someone younger to step in and do the job.
“This one hurt bad, because I thought we let one get away. We did it collectively, there’s no one culprit,” Leyland said. “This is one that’s going to stick with me.”
Leyland was 700-597 (.541) and won at least 90 games three times. He was hired entering the 2006 season to take over a team that went 71-91 in 2005.
The Tigers have a big-spending owner and a roster that is very much set with arguably only two position spots in question going to spring training — second base and left field.
“I truly think this is going to be a very good team next year,” Leyland said. “This job entails a lot more than people think.”
Two coaches on Leyland’s coaching staff, Lloyd McClendon and Gene Lamont, have managerial experience and are expected to be considered for the job.
Leyland is not under contract. He completed a one-year deal signed last offseason.
Leyland is 1,769-1,728 overall as manager, also including stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-96), Florida Marlins (1997-98) and Colorado Rockies (1999). He won the 1997 World Series with the Marlins. He also managed the Pirates to the National League Championship Series three straight years (1990-92).
He is a two-time NL Manager of the Year (1990, 1992) and was AL Manager of the Year in 2006.