Infobox MLB retired
birthdate=birth date and age|1943|8|28
New York Yankees
Runs batted in
Kansas City Royals(by|1969-by|1973)
New York Yankees(by|1974-by|1984)As Manager
New York Yankees(by|1986-by|1988)
* Tampa Bay Devil Rays (by|2003-by|2005)
* All-Star selection (1972)
World Serieschampion (1977, 1978, 1990)
AL Rookie of the Year
AL Manager of the Year(1995, 2001)
Louis Victor Piniella (pronEng|pɨˈnɛlə; born
August 28, 1943, in Tampa, Florida, United States) is the current manager of the Chicago Cubsand a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He has been nicknamed "Sweet Lou," both for his swing as a major league hitter and, facetiously, to describe his demeanor as a player and manager. He presently ranks 14th all-time on the list of Managerial Wins.
Piniella grew up in
West Tampa, Florida. His Asturian grandparents immigrated to Florida from Asturias, Spain. As a child, he played PONY League Baseballalongside Tony La Russa. He attended Jesuit High School of Tampawhere he was an All-Americanin basketball. After graduation, he attended the University of Tampawhere he was an All-American in baseball.
Piniella, at the age of 21, played in his first major league game in by|1964 with the
Baltimore Orioles. At 24, his second major league season was with the Cleveland Indians. He joined the Seattle Pilots during their by|1969 preseason, but was quickly traded. He was prominently mentioned in Jim Bouton's classic book about the Seattle Pilots, " Ball Four".
Piniella played for the
Kansas City Royalsfrom by|1969-73, and was the American League's AL Rookie of the Year in 1969. He was the first player to come to bat in Royals history. On April 8of their first season, he led off the bottom of the 1st against left-hander Tom Hall of the Minnesota Twins. He doubled to left field, then scored on an RBI single by Jerry Adair. While playing for the Royals, Pinella accomplished a remarkably indubious feat. He became the first major league player to be thrown out at first, second, third, and home in a single game. This tale was recounted in a book written by former American League Umpire, Ron Luciano.
That was followed by 11 years as a member of the
New York Yankees, where they won five AL East titles (1976–78, 1980 and 1981), four AL pennants (1976–78 and 1981), and two World Serieschampionships (1977–78). After center fielder Mickey Riverswas traded, during the 1979 season, Piniella became the Yankees leadoff hitter. One of the more underrated players of the 1970s (he made just one all-star team), he compiled 1705 lifetime hits despite not playing full time for just under half of his career.
He wore uniform number 24 for the Orioles, and 23 for the Indians. His longer stretches were wearing number 9 for the Royals, and 14 for the Yankees.
Known for his often aggressive and sometimes explosive behavior, Piniella has been ejected 61 times in his managerial career. [cite web |url=http://mlb.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20080629&content_id=3030790&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc|title=Cubs fall to Sox, drop fourth straight|accessdate=2008-06-29 |publisher=mlb.com] Among active managers, only
Joe Torre, Tony LaRussaand all-time leader Bobby Coxhave received more ejections. [cite web |url=http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/bobby-cox-you-are-ejected-please-leave-the-bench |title=Bobby Cox … you are ejected … please leave the bench |accessdate=2008-06-29 |publisher=The Hardball Times] He often sends his pitching coach to remove a pitcher from the game.fact|date=August 2008 He once got into a clubhouse scuffle with pitcher Rob Dibblewhile with the Reds, which was caught on video, ending with the two being pulled apart and Lou screaming, "You don't want to be treated like a man!"Fact|date=July 2008
New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds
After retiring as a player, Piniella managed the Yankees from by|1986 to by|1987 and for most of 1988 before briefly serving as the club's general manager for the rest of the by|1988 and by|1989 seasons. Piniella managed the
Cincinnati Redsbetween 1990 and 1992, a tenure that included winning the 1990 World Seriesagainst the heavily-favored Oakland Athletics.
On August 12, 1990, in a home game against the
San Francisco Giants, Piniella argued with umpire Dutch Rennertafter Barry Larkinwas called out at first at the end of the fifth ending. After throwing his hat down, Piniella was ejected. Afterwards, Piniella ripped first base out of the ground and threw it twice toward right field. The Reds went on to win the game 6–4. [ [http://www.espn.go.com/page2/s/list/wildcoaches.html The List: Coaches Gone Wild] ]
From by|1993–by|2002, he managed the Seattle Mariners, winning the AL
Manager of the Year Awardin by|1995, and again in by|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 was included in a rare "trade" that sent him (and infielder Antonio Pérez) to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, with outfielder Randy Winngoing to Seattle.clarifyme
In the Mariners' 30-season history, they have had nine 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 his tenure with the team, while serving at least one season.
In a game on September 18, 2002 in a 3–2 (10) win against
the Texas Rangers, Piniella came out to argue a call in the bottom of the ninth in which the umpire called out Ben Davisafter a close play at first and was immediately tossed by first base umpire C.B. Bucknorafter throwing down his hat. Afterwards, he kicked his hat several times, aggressively approached Bucknor as he was screaming in his face, and kicked dirt on him as well. After being restrained by first base coach Johnny Moses, he then ripped first base from its mooring then threw it down the right field foul line twice after he imitated the umpire tossing him out. [ [http://espn.go.com/page2/s/caple/020920.html How to lose mind ... and keep dignity] ]
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
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 by|2004, which was also their 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 by|2005 season, Piniella was very critical of 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 (they 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, by|2005. Sweet Lou 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.
October 16, 2006, Piniella agreed to a three-year contract to manage the Chicago Cubs. The contract is for $10 million over three seasons with a $5 million option for a fourth year [ [http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20061016&content_id=1714668&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb Cubs come to terms with Piniella, MLB.com] .]
Famous for his anger and meltdowns, he showed it during a press conference after a Cubs-Reds game on April 13, 2007, when Cubs ace
Carlos Zambranoblew a five run lead in the 5th inning in which the Reds scored 6 runs, winning the game 6–5. A reporter asked him what was not working for the Cubs. He responded in a loud, angry voice, "What the hell do you think isn't working?! You saw the damn game! … This guy is your ace, you got a 5–0 lead with the eighth and ninth hitters coming up, you feel pretty good about that inning and all of a sudden it turns into a six-run inning,” Piniella said, obviously still agitated but calmer. “And then I bring in the reliever [cite web |url=http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/2007/B04130CHN2007.htm|title=Retrosheet box score|accessdate=2008-07-15 |publisher=retrosheet.org] who’s throwing 30-to-40-foot curveballs to boot. I can see. I can start to see some of the ways this team has lost ballgames. I can see it. We’ve got to correct it obviously. This game here is one that got away from us that really shouldn’t.” In a similar meltdown after the May 17, 2007, game against the Mets, Lou stated, "I don't care about feelings."fact|date=August 2008
June 2, 2007, Piniella was ejected as a Cub for the first time after throwing down his cap, kicking dirt at third base umpire Mark Wegner, and kicking his cap three times. He was arguing a call that Angel Paganwas out at third attempting to advance on a wild pitch. In the post-game press conference, he said Pagan looked safe from the dugout, but acknowledged that, after seeing the replay, the umpire made the right call. However, he also said he was going to argue no matter if Pagan was safe or out: "it didn't make a damn bit of difference." He was suspended for four games, the longest of his career. The Cubs—22–31 in their 53 games through June 2nd—went on from there to capture the National League Central Division title and the best record in the league. Piniella led the Cubs to their second straight divisional title in 2008. It was the first time the franchise had made it to consecutive postseasons since winning the National League pennant three years in a row from 1906–1908.
Despite Pinella's Cubs dominating the National League for most of 2008, clinching the Central Division with the best record in the NL, the tide turned when the Cubs went up against the
Los Angeles Dodgersin the 2008 NLDS. Pinella could only watch as the Cubs' offense suddenly sputtered, scoring only 6 runs in all three games, and his defense committed 4 errors in Game 2 to pick up talk of the Curse of the Billy Goatonce again. Pinella's Cubs were swept by Joe Torre's Dodgers and outscored 20–6. He could only laugh, blaming himself and his entire team for failing to produce. He did mention the top of his lineup's failure to contribute. Alfonso Sorianowent 1-14, Kosuke Fukudomeonly 1-10, and Derrek Lee, Pinella's #3 hitter, drove in zero runs the entire series despite batting .545 and going 6–11. After the game 2 loss to the Dodgers in the NLDS, a reporter asked Piniella, enraged about the loss, about starting Fukudome. Piniella responded, "I'm going to play [Mike] Fontenot or Reed Johnson or somebody else, and that's the end of that story. The kid is struggling, and there's no sense sending him out there anymore." Despite that, they lost Game 3 and, oddly enough, Fukudome went 1-2 when he came into the game later on.
Updated through September 28, 2008
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