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Farewell Lou Piniella

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella officially retired after today’s game against the Atlanta Braves.

I’ll tell you what…there will never be another Sweet Lou.

Piniella managed in the big leagues for 23 seasons. He led the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs. Piniella won 1,835 games and three Manager of the Year awards (AL in 1995 & 2001; NL in 2008).

Here’s the knock on him though. In 23 years, Piniella only won one pennant and one World Series ring (that happened with the Reds in 1990). He guided the Mariners to a 116 win season in 2001, only to have Seattle fall in the American League Championship. Piniella just couldn’t get the job done in the playoffs.

I guess I should say Piniella couldn’t get the job done as a manager in the playoffs. Sweet Lou played 18 seasons in the big leagues for the Baltimore Orioles (only four games), Cleveland Indians (only six games), Kansas City Royals, and the Yankees. He won two World Series rings with New York (1977 & 1978) in four tries. He was a career .305 hitter in the postseason. His other accolades included Rookie of the Year honors in 1969 and an All-Star Game appearance in 1972.

With all of that said, people won’t remember Piniella for his stats. Everyone will remember Sweet Lou for what he did best…get booted out of games. Earl Weaver might have the most ejections in the history of the game, but no one did it better than Piniella. Major League Baseball has total control over their highlights, so it’s hard to find much video of his outbursts. This is shaky, but here’s a taste of what he could do:

That’s the Sweet Lou that everyone knows and loves!

I grew up in the Seattle area, so I watched a lot of Piniella’s explosions over his ten years with the Mariners. I have two favorite ejections. My top moment happened in a game at Safeco Field. Piniella ran out to argue a call at first base. He kicked his hat around for a while, took the base out of the ground, and then tossed it into the outfield. The funniest part…Piniella tweaked something in his leg when he threw the base, so he limped off the field. Unforgettable!

The other ejection that I loved happened in a game against Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field. Piniella got steamed about a call at home (or maybe about balls and strikes) and covered the plate with dirt. He refused to clean it up and so did everyone else…including the umpire. Seattle catcher Dan Wilson finally grabbed the ump’s hand broom and dusted off the plate so play could resume.

I know we have both of these ejections on the archive tapes at my station. Maybe I can cheat the system and get them up on my YouTube channel. Watch for an update later today.

UPDATE: I found the video of both ejections. It isn’t the entire outburst, it’s only the clips that we had archived. I hope it still gives you a pretty good idea of what happened.

I’m sorry for the quality. It’s the best I could do:

Ejection #1 (throwing base) & Ejection #2 (dirty home plate)

I also clipped some video of Piniella breaking down during his retirement press conference after the game.

I understand that not everyone likes Piniella like I do. Love him or hate him though, the game of baseball won’t be the same without him. Good-bye Sweet Lou!

I would love to hear your favorite Lou Piniella moments (or what you think of the guy). You can leave a comment below, find me on Twitter @lewissports, check of the new Tim Lewis page on Facebook, or email me at tim@timlewissports.com. You have all of the options in the world!

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