This week’s theme for Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday is famous hot tempered managers. Most managers will or have argued with umpires but three came to mind in the legendary term that makes you think of dirt kicking base removing and tossing hat reversing managers so here is the Fisrt of our three in this catogory… Lou Pinella.
After retiring as a player, Piniella joined the Yankees coaching staff as the hitting coach. He managed the Yankees from 1986 to 1987. Piniella was promoted to general manager to start the 1988 season and took over as manager after the firing of Billy Martin on June 23.
Piniella managed the Cincinnati Reds between 1990 and 1992, a tenure that included winning the 1990 World Series in a 4 game sweep of the heavily favored Oakland Athletics, who were the defending champions.
Piniella managed the Seattle Mariners for ten seasons, from 1993 through 2002. His wife, Anita, initially insisted he not take the position. Lou and Anita lived in New Jersey in Allendale, and she thought Seattle was too far away from their family and children, and spring training was in Arizona instead of Florida.
Piniella won the AL Manager of the Year Award in 1995, and again in 2001, when he led the Mariners to a record-tying 116 wins. After winning the 2001 AL Division Series, the Mariners dropped the first two games of the AL Championship Series, and Piniella held an angry post-game press conference in which he guaranteed the Mariners would win two out of three games in New York to return the ALCS to Seattle. However, the Yankees closed out the series at Yankee Stadium, and the Mariners have not reached the playoffs since. Following the 2002 season, Piniella requested out of his final year with the Mariners to manage the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. As compensation, the Devil Rays traded outfielder Randy Winn to the Mariners for infield prospect Antonio Perez.
In the Mariners’ 33-season history, they have had eleven winning seasons and reached the playoffs four times. Seven of the winning seasons and all of the playoff appearances occurred during Piniella’s ten years with the Mariners. Piniella is the only manager in Mariners history to have a winning record. In 2014, Pinella was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame on August 9.
In his first two seasons with the Devil Rays, Piniella was able to improve the team somewhat, and they won a franchise-record 70 games in 2004. This was also the first season in which they did not finish last in their division, which he also guaranteed (he also jokingly said, after saying it several times, “If I say it any more times I might have us winning the World Series!”) During the 2005 season, Piniella was critical of the Devil Rays’ front office for focusing too much on the future and not enough on immediate results, and for not increasing payroll quickly enough to field a competitive team. The Devil Rays started the season with a $30 million payroll, which was the lowest in the major leagues; the Yankees payroll in 2005 was over $208 million.
Tensions eventually made Piniella step down as the Devil Rays’ manager on September 21, 2005. Piniella had one more season remaining on his contract from October 2002, but agreed to a $2.2 million buyout, in lieu of $4.4 million that he was due, had he decided to manage the team for one more season. He would have also received $1.25 million in deferred salary from 2003.
On October 16, 2006, Piniella agreed to a three-year contract to manage the Chicago Cubs for $10 million with a $5 million option for a fourth year.
Though Piniella’s Cubs clinched the Central Division two years in a row, (2007-2008) and boasted the best record in the NL in 2008, the Cubs were swept in the postseason both years, first by the Arizona Diamondbacks and then the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2008 NLDS. Piniella was named NL Manager of the Year for 2008.
On July 20, 2010, Piniella announced his intention to retire as manager of the Cubs following the end of the season. However, on August 22, 2010, Piniella decided to resign after that day’s game, stating that he wanted to care for his ailing 90-year old mother.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes Lou Pinella.
September 4, 1964 for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
June 16, 1984 for the New York Yankees
Runs batted in
Baltimore Orioles (1964)
Cleveland Indians (1968)
Kansas City Royals (1969–1973)
New York Yankees (1974–1984)
New York Yankees (1986–1987, 1988)
Cincinnati Reds (1990–1992)
Seattle Mariners (1993–2002)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2003–2005)
Chicago Cubs (2007–2010)
Career highlights and awards
3× World Series champion (1977, 1978, 1990)
AL Rookie of the Year (1969)
2× AL Manager of the Year (1995, 2001)
NL Manager of the Year (2008)
Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame