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Lou Piniella

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Title: Lou Piniella  
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Subject: Major League Baseball Manager of the Year Award, List of Chicago Cubs managers, Bob Melvin, Seattle Mariners, Dick Howser
Collection: 1943 Births, Aberdeen Pheasants Players, American League All-Stars, American People of Asturian Descent, American People of Spanish Descent, Baltimore Orioles Players, Baseball Players from Florida, Chicago Cubs Managers, Cincinnati Reds Managers, Cleveland Indians Players, Elmira Pioneers Players, Kansas City Royals Players, Living People, Major League Baseball Announcers, Major League Baseball Executives, Major League Baseball General Managers, Major League Baseball Hitting Coaches, Major League Baseball Left Fielders, Major League Baseball Managers, Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award Winners, Manager of the Year Award Winners, New York Yankees Broadcasters, New York Yankees Coaches, New York Yankees Executives, New York Yankees Managers, New York Yankees Players, Peninsula Senators Players, People from Allendale, New Jersey, Portland Beavers Players, Seattle Mariners Managers, Selma Cloverleafs Players, Sportspeople from Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Devil Rays Managers, Tampa Spartans Baseball Players, Tiburones De La Guaira Players
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Lou Piniella

Lou Piniella
Piniella with the Cubs in 2008
Left fielder / Manager
Born: (1943-08-28) August 28, 1943
Tampa, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 4, 1964, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
June 16, 1984, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Batting average .291
Home runs 102
Runs batted in 766
Games managed 3,547
Win–loss record 1,835–1,712
Winning % .517

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Louis Victor Piniella ([1][2] usually /pɨˈnɛlə/; born August 28, 1943[3]) is a former professional baseball player and manager. An outfielder in the major leagues, he played five seasons with the Kansas City Royals and eleven seasons with the New York Yankees, then led five teams as manager. Piniella was nicknamed "Sweet Lou", both for his swing as a major league hitter and, facetiously, to describe his demeanor as a player and manager. He finished his managerial career ranked 14th all-time on the list of managerial wins.


  • Early life 1
  • Playing career 2
  • Coaching and front office career 3
    • New York Yankees 3.1
    • Cincinnati Reds 3.2
    • Seattle Mariners 3.3
    • Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3.4
    • Chicago Cubs 3.5
    • San Francisco Giants 3.6
  • Managerial record 4
  • Broadcasting career 5
  • In other media 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Born in Tampa, Florida, Piniella's parents were of Asturian descent, from northwest Spain.[1][4][5][6] He grew up in West Tampa, and played American Legion baseball[7][8] and PONY League baseball alongside Tony La Russa.[9] Piniella attended Jesuit High School in Tampa, where he was an All-American in basketball.[10] After graduation in 1961,[11][12][13] he attended the University of Tampa for a year, where he was a College Division (today's Division II) All-American in baseball for the Spartans.[14]

Playing career

Piniella was signed by the Cleveland Indians at age 18 as an amateur free agent on June 9, 1962.[15] That fall, he was drafted by the Washington Senators from the Indians in the 1962 first year draft. In August 1964, Piniella was sent to the Baltimore Orioles to complete an earlier trade for Buster Narum, and Piniella played in his first major league game that September with the Orioles at the age of 21. Prior to the 1966 season, he was traded by the Orioles back to the Indians for Cam Carreon, and made his second major league appearance in September 1968 at age 24 with the Indians.

Piniella was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the 1968 expansion draft in October, but was traded after spring training on April 1 to the Kansas City Royals for John Gelnar and Steve Whitaker.[16] He was prominently mentioned in Jim Bouton's classic book about the Seattle Pilots, Ball Four.

Piniella at-bat in a 1983 spring training game

Piniella played for the Royals for their first five seasons, 1969 through 1973, and was the American League's Rookie of the Year in 1969 and was named to the 1972 All-Star Game. He was the first batter in Royals history; on April 8 of their first season in 1969, he led off the bottom of the first inning against left-hander Tom Hall of the Minnesota Twins. Piniella doubled to left field, then scored on an RBI single by Jerry Adair.

After the 1973 season, Piniella was traded by the Royals with Ken Wright to the New York Yankees for Lindy McDaniel. He played with the Yankees for 11 seasons, during which the Yankees won five AL East titles (1976–78, 1980, and 1981), four AL pennants (1976–78, and 1981), and two World Series championships (197778). In 1975, he missed part of the year with an inner ear infection. From mid-1977 through the end of 1980, he was the Yankees' regular outfielder/DH.

In his career, Piniella made one All-Star team and compiled 1705 lifetime hits despite not playing full-time for just under half of his career. He received 2 votes for the Hall of Fame as a player in 1990. He was voted in with the Mariners hall of fame in Seattle 2014.

Coaching and front office career

New York Yankees

Piniella, age 39, speaks to the media during spring training in 1983

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.

Cincinnati Reds

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.

Seattle Mariners

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.[17]

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.[14][18] 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 and Lloyd McClendon are the only managers in Mariners history to have a winning record.[19] In 2014, Pinella was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame on August 9. Piniella's Number 14, though not yet retired, has not been issued to any player or coach since his tenure with the Mariners concluded in 2002.

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 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.

Chicago Cubs

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.[20]

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.[21][22]

On July 20, 2010, Piniella announced his intention to retire as manager of the Cubs following the end of the season.[23] 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.[24]

San Francisco Giants

On February 2, 2011, Piniella was hired by the San Francisco Giants as a special consultant.[25][26] He did not return to that position after the season.[27]

Managerial record

Team From To Regular season record Post–season record
W L Win % W L Win %
New York Yankees 1986 1987 179 145 .552
New York Yankees 1988 1988 45 48 .484
Cincinnati Reds 1990 1992 255 231 .525 8 2 .800
Seattle Mariners 1993 2002 840 711 .542 15 19 .441
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2003 2005 200 285 .412
Chicago Cubs 2007 2010 316 293 .519 0 6 .000
Total 1835 1713 .517 23 27 .460

Broadcasting career

In 1989, Piniella worked as a color analyst for Yankees telecasts on Madison Square Garden Network. After parting ways with the Devil Rays in 2006, Piniella spent one season as an analyst for Fox Sports, joining Thom Brennaman and Steve Lyons in calling postseason baseball games.

During their broadcast of Game 3 of the 2006 American League Championship Series, Piniella was commenting on player Marco Scutaro who had struggled during the regular season but was playing well during the series. He stated that to expect Scutaro to continue playing well would be similar to finding a wallet on Friday and expecting to find another wallet on Saturday and Sunday. Piniella then commented that player Frank Thomas needed to get "en fuego" which is Spanish for "on fire", because he was "frio" meaning "cold". Lyons responded by saying that Piniella was "hablaing [sic] Español" and added, "I still can't find my wallet. I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit close to him now."[29]

Fox fired Lyons for making the above remarks, which they determined to be racially insensitive.[30] Piniella later defended Lyons saying Lyons was "a man" and that "There isn't a racist bone in his [Lyons'] body. Not one. I've known the guy personally. He was kidding with me, nothing more and nothing less."[31]

On February 22, 2012, it was announced Piniella would join the YES Network as an analyst for Yankees games. He made his YES debut on March 4 during a Yankees-Phillies spring training game.[27][32]

In other media

Piniella made a cameo appearance in the 1994 film Little Big League.

In late 2007, Piniella appeared in a television commercial for Aquafina bottled water in which he parodies his famous June 2, 2007 meltdown at Wrigley Field.

Piniella and Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén appeared in one commercial to advertise a local car dealership during the first half of the 2008 Crosstown series. The creators of the commercial used their likeness in three other commercials, which featured stunt doubles riding bicycles and jumping rope.[33]

In 2009, Piniella did a commercial for DirecTV.

See also


  1. ^ a b  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ 1943 Calendar
  4. ^ McEwen, Tom (July 20, 2010). "West Tampa Lou ready to return".  
  5. ^ Isaacson, Melissa (August 30, 2010). "Lou Piniella was born into baseball".  
  6. ^ Mitchell, Fred;David Kaplan (April 15, 2010). "MLB honors Jackie Robinson".  
  7. ^ Kay, Michael (October 17, 1990). "Hot-tempered Lou always had big plans for the majors". The Day (New London, Connecticut). (New York Daily News). p. E8. 
  8. ^ Scanlon, Dick (June 17, 2005). "Rays to face NL-leading Cards". The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida). p. C5. 
  9. ^ Price, S.L. (October 16, 1990). "29 years later". Toledo Blade. Knight-Ridder. p. 24. 
  10. ^ Bender, Bob (March 29, 1972). "Piniella faces important year". St. Petersburg Times. p. 3C. 
  11. ^ "Radcliff hits 40 as Greenies defeat Jesuit". St. Petersburg Times. February 17, 1960. p. C1. 
  12. ^ "Dunedin bows 65-35 to Jesuit". St. Petersburg Times. December 10, 1960. p. 3C. 
  13. ^ "King to appear with South five". St. Petersburg Independent. Associated Press. May 10, 1961. p. 9A. 
  14. ^ a b Scanlon, Dick (October 29, 2002). "Piniella set to captain Devil Rays' shaky ship". The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida). p. A1. 
  15. ^ "Lou recalls signing day". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. September 10, 2003. p. 6C. 
  16. ^ "Royals, Pilots swap players". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. April 2, 1969. p. 2C. 
  17. ^ Thiel, Art. "Ellis issued challenge, and M's got their leader", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 24, 2003. Accessed August 21, 2011. "By the time they returned to their Allendale, N.J., home, he was ready to say no -- perhaps because that was the word that Anita pounded into his ear on the flight. 'No, no, no, no, no,' Piniella recalled her saying. 'She said, 'You're not going to Seattle. Just get that totally out of your mind.' Her reasons were obvious: Too far from home, and spring training was in Arizona instead of Florida."
  18. ^ Withers, Tom (October 29, 2002). "Four baseball teams settle on new skippers". The Argus-Press (Oswosso, Michigan). Associated Press. p. 10. 
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ Cubs come to terms with Piniella,
  21. ^ Baseball Almanac
  22. ^ Chicago Tribune's Blog
  23. ^ Madden, Bill (July 20, 2010). "Lou Piniella, former Yankees manager and player, will retire as manager of Cubs at end of season". New York: Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  24. ^ Lacques, Gabe (January 8, 2010). "Cubs manager Lou Piniella won't wait for October, to retire after today's game - Daily Pitch: MLB News, Standings, Schedules & More -". Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Shea, John (February 1, 2011). "Sweet Lou joining the champs". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  27. ^ a b Raissman, Bob (February 2, 2012). "It's official: Sweet Lou joins YES Network".  
  28. ^ "Lou Piniella". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  29. ^ Cafardo, Nick; Edes, Gordon (October 15, 2006). "Lyons fired by Fox". The Boston Globe. 
  30. ^ McCauley, Janie (October 14, 2006). "Fox fires baseball announcer Steve Lyons after racially insensitive comment". USA Today. Associated Press. 
  31. ^ Fired Baseball Announcer Lyons Finds Support, IMDb
  32. ^ Kercheval, Nancy (February 23, 2012). "Lou Piniella Joins Yankees YES Television Network as Special Contributor". Bloomberg. 
  33. ^ Lazare, Lewis (June 18, 2008). "Pinch runners cover bases for Lou, Ozzie".  

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
  • Lou Piniella managerial career statistics at
  • Baseball Almanac
  • - career highlights
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