December 7, 2018
Former Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers
Jim Leyland began his baseball career with the Detroit Tigers when they signed him as a catcher on September 21, 1963. He spent seven seasons as a minor leaguer in that organization (1964–1970), and in 1972, became a minor league manager in the Tigers organization. From 1979–1981, he was the manager of the Evansville Triplets, winning two divisions (1979 and 1981) in the American Association. Leyland left the Tigers organization for the first time in 1982 when he became Tony LaRussa’s third base coach for four seasons (1982–1985) with the Chicago White Sox, before being named the 33rd manager in Pittsburgh Pirates history on November 30, 1985.
With the Pirates from 1986 to1996, he won two Manager of the Year trophies in 1990 and 1992, and as a runner-up in 1988 and 1991. Leyland helped develop such All-Stars as Barry Bonds, Jay Bell, Tim Wakefield, Andy Van Slyke and Bobby Bonilla in Pittsburgh before a fire sale in the mid-1990s soured him with new ownership. Under Leyland, the Pirates went to the National League Championship Series in three straight seasons (1990, 1991 and 1992). The Pirates lost all three of those NLCS, however, with the latter two going the full seven games against the Atlanta Braves.
In 1997, he was hired to manage the Florida Marlins and promptly led them to the franchise’s first championship. The Marlins, in only their fifth year of existence, became the fastest expansion franchise to win a World Series. The Arizona Diamondbacks surpassed the Marlins when they won the World Series in 2001, their fourth season.
On October 4, 2005, Leyland returned to the franchise with which he spent the first 18 years of his professional baseball career. In the 2006 regular season, he guided the Tigers to a 95-67 record, the Tigers’ best season since 1987. The Tigers entered the playoffs as a wild card, and went on to defeat the New York Yankees and sweep the Oakland Athletics to win the American League Pennant. Many people chose the Tigers to win the 2006 World Series, but ultimately lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. In leading the team to the AL Pennant, he became the seventh manager to win pennants in both major leagues, joining Joe McCarthy, Yogi Berra, Alvin Dark, Sparky Anderson, Dick Williams and Tony La Russa. After the 2006 Season ended, Leyland was recognized with the Manager of the Year Award for the third time in his career. He became the third person to win the award in both leagues, joining La Russa and Bobby Cox. Leyland also won The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award for the American League in 2006,
In 2011, Leyland led the Tigers to another 96–67 regular season record, winning the American League Central Division. On May 1, 2012, he gained his 1,600th victory as a major league manager, passing Tommy Lasorda on the all-time wins list. On October 18, 2012, Leyland led the Tigers to the World Series in a sweep of the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Detroit was swept in the 2012 World Series by the San Francisco Giants. On October 30, 2012, Leyland signed another one-year contract with the Tigers to manage for the 2013 season. On September 25, 2013, he won his 700th game with the Tigers. With the 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins, the Tigers clinched their third consecutive American League Central Division title. Leyland joins form coach Tony La Russa as the only managers who have led two different MLB franchises to three consecutive division titles. On October 21, 2913, Leyland stepped down as the manager of the Tigers, noting at the time that he would accept a different position and would remain a part of the organization.
Although he has moved in his career, Leyland still keeps his home in Mt. Lebanon, where he lives with his wife Katie, and has raised two children, Pat and Kellie. Both attended Canevin High School.
Leyland has often been seen in the stands enjoying Pirates games. His observations of the 2015 season in Pittsburgh should be interesting, as well as his thoughts on this year’s season.
December 14, 2018 – CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON – DOUBLETREE HOTEL, MOON TOWNSHIP
December 21, 2018 – Colleen McKerley: Light of Life Rescue Mission
December 28, 2018 – END OF THE YEAR – NO MEETING