The hard-fought American League Championship Series was full of respect between the two talented squads, and that reverence was extended even after the Red Sox defeated the Tigers in Game 6 at Fenway Park.
Two days after Boston clinched the AL pennant, effectively ending Detroit’s season, Jim Leyland announced that he would be stepping down as Tigers manager. The news came as a bit of a shock to the baseball world, and it was especially surprising to Red Sox manager John Farrell, who had reached out to Leyland after the Red Sox’ win.
“Very surprised,” Farrell said. “I had sent him a text yesterday morning just to congratulate he and the organization on not only a great team, but a great year. I expressed the respect that we have for him, and certainly I have personally for him for all the success he’s had in his career.”
In addition to three division championships and two AL pennants with the Tigers, Leyland won the World Series with the Marlins in 1997, and led the Pirates to three consecutive NL East titles from 1990-92. Over his 22-year managerial career, the 69-year-old skipper has recorded 1,769 wins, more than any other active manager and good enough for 15th all-time.
The skipper told his team that he would be stepping down after the Tigers loss on Saturday night.
“And then to see the announcement today, to listen to him and know that early September this was very clear in his mind, that’s surprising,” Farrell said. “My gosh, when you take a step back and you see someone who’s managed for what, 22 years, it’s a hell of a career and I’m sure one he’s extremely proud of.”