Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Leyland Exits as Quietly as He Entered

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Leyland Exits as Quietly as He Entered

Article excerpt

It wasn't Jim Leyland's night. He wouldn't let it be.

Leyland managed his last home game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, and the Pirates wanted to throw an elaborate night in his honor with gifts, tributes and speeches. He wouldn't have it.

Instead, Leyland went out the way he came in as a relatively unknown former White Sox third base coach in 1986 - with little fanfare, managing a last-place team in one of baseball's smallest markets. "I'm going to manage this game like I have every other game in my life, and that's to win it," Leyland said. Leyland announced last week he would pass up the final four years on his contract to manage a contending club, almost certainly Florida. He is expected to sign on with the Marlins as early as next week, and the Pirates will seek only their fifth manager in a quarter-century. On his last night at home, there were a few special touches and some tears for the man with the longest tenure of any current major league manager or professional coach, but no special ceremony. There was a salute from President Clinton and Leyland's former boss, St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, also paid him a glowing tribute during pregame interviews. But, for the most part, it was just another night at the ballyard for Le yland, who managed the Pirates to three division championships and three disappointing NL playoff defeats in 11 seasons. Leyland received a loud ovation when taking out the lineup card, and he tipped his cap as he returned to the dugout. He also nearly broke down during his pregame radio show as he thanked the fans for their support. But, otherwise, there was no indication this night was different than any of Leyland's other 2,000-plus days on the job. "I don't want this to be a sad night," said Leyland, whose 847-859 record does not accurately reflect his impact upon the Pirates or the city. …

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