By Benjamin Barker — 03/08/2011
Six years ago they were the laughing stock of the league. 2005 marked the twelfth straight season that the Detroit Tigers finished with a losing record. Just one year later the Tigers were in the World Series.
Four years ago, Jim Leyland took over the lowly Tigers. In his first season with the team, Leyland managed to pull the Tigers out of their playoff drought by capturing the American League Wild Card title. The Tigers would go on to win the American League pennant, but then lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in six games. Detroit could not finish the job in 2006, but the impact that Leyland left on the franchise was undeniable.
Fast-forward to now and Leyland’s job may be on the line. That is because the Tigers have not returned to the post-season since they lost the World Series to the Cardinals. 2011 is the last year on Jim Leyland’s contract, and if the Tigers miss the post-season again, Leyland may be moving out of Motown.
If it were up to the players, Jim Leyland’s contract would already have been extended. “Since 2006 he’s my manager and you know, you can’t ask for a better player’s manager. I’ve talked to some guys that have been around the league for a long time and they say he’s the best.” Said Detroit ace Justin Verlander. I’ve really enjoyed my time playing for him and I’ve been blessed to have him as a manager.”
In five years as Detroit’s manager, Leyland has racked up 424 wins. Unfortunately for Leyland, the only number that matters in baseball is the number of rings on your hand.