Lou Piniella, who has spent more than 45 years in baseball and stated that he would retire at the end of this season, retired today after a loss to the Atlanta Braves to care for his ailing mother.
As a player, Piniella was scrappy and fearless. His 18 year career spanned from 1962-1984, playing with the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, and New York Yankees. He was the first batter in Kansas City Royals history in 1969. On the franchise’s first-at-bat, Piniella hit a double, and then scored the Royals’ first run. Piniella won Rookie of the year in 1969 and was named an All-Star in 1972. Piniella won two World Series as a left fielder with the New York Yankees in 1978 and 1979.
Piniella, who is known by many for his fiery temperament as a manager, was also a very successful manager, winning one of the most surprising World Series in history with the Cincinnati Reds over the Oakland A’s and the Bash Brothers (Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire) in a 4-0 sweep. Piniella led the Seattle Mariners to 116 wins, tying the win record in modern baseball history in 2001. Piniella next managed the Tampa Bay Rays from 2003-2005, but stepped down after numerous disagreements with management on how the team could not compete while having one of the lowest payrolls in the Major League. Piniella spent his last four seasons with the Chicago Cubs, having the greatest success in 2008, but failing short of the World Series, which kept the curse of the Cubs intact.
Piniella has won three Manager of the Year awards: Twice in the American League (1995, 2001) and once in the National League (2008). He is currently 4th among active managers in wins, amassing an 1,835-1,713 career record.
Piniella had this to say about his sudden retirement:
“My mom needs me home and that’s where I’m going. She hasn’t gotten any better since I’ve been here. She’s had a couple other complications, and rather than continue to go home, come back, it’s not fair to the team, it’s not fair to the players.”
“I’ve enjoyed it here. In four wonderful years I’ve made a lot of friends and had some success here, (but) this year has been a little bit of a struggle. But, look. Family is important, it comes first. So the best thing is just to step down and go home and take care of my mother.”
And what article about Lou Piniella would be complete without one of his famous ejections!
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