Today, October 21, 2013, the Detroit Tigers held a press conference to allow Manger Jim Leyland to announce that he was stepping down as skipper of the team he began his baseball life with. Leyland was brought to the team as Manager in 2006 and they responded by making the World Series that year, and another time since. Leyland ends his 8 year run with a 700-597 record as Tigers’ skipper with three divisional crowns, and two American League pennants. His reign in Detroit will always be looked on with a sense of unfinished business as Leyland never managed a Tigers team to a World Series championship.
Leyland is a superb manager, and his 1,769 career wins certainly attest to that. However as skipper of the Tigers he had just a 1-8 record in the World Series and that will forever tarnish his legacy in the hearts and minds of Tigers fans. They will forget the team averaged 87 wins a season under his leadership, and his worst record was 74-88 in a very disappointing 2008 regular season. In five of his 8 years he got this team to the post season, and that is more post season trips that the most beloved Tigers skipper of all time Sparky Anderson.
Speaking of Anderson Leyland’s record in both baseball and with the Tigers compares very well. However, it is hard to compare the rosters the two mangers were in charge of because of the different eras of baseball they competed in. It seems reasonable to say that Leyland had more overall talent, but Sparky's teams were deeper. These two skippers will forever be linked by their stewardship of this club and success they had as Tigers’ skipper.
Today is not a day to debate such things. Today is a day to honor a man who gave his heart and soul to this team.. There are many Leyland fans, and detractors, but none can argue that he was not fully invested in teh success of his players and his teams. He has also proven time and time again that he is a class act. As a fan, there is not a lot more one can ask for in their big league skipper.