Wieczorkiewicz: Jim Leyland and the Midwest League

From SABR member Craig Wieczorkiewicz at The Midwest League Traveler on October 22, 2013:

Jim Leyland announced Monday that he is stepping down as manager of the Detroit Tigers. The longtime major-league manager got his start as a skipper in the Midwest League.

Leyland managed the Clinton Pilots, a Detroit Tigers affiliate, in 1972, 1973 and 1975. He took the helm of the Pilots two years after ending his minor-league playing career, during which he batted .222 in 446 games in rookie ball, Class A and Class AA (but never in the Midwest League). Clinton had the best record in the Midwest League in 1973, but got bumped from the playoffs in the first round by the Wisconsin Rapids Twins, who went on to win the MWL championship.

Leyland reminisced about his Midwest League days in an article published in the Clinton Herald in 1991, when he was manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“It’s amazing when I look back…we charter a plane to fly, or take the subway in New York when there are millions of people…I can still see corn fields and only a few buildings here or there between Clinton and Cedar Rapids or Burlington.

“There are thousands of people all over and it’s the same game – but I’ll never forget those days. In 20 years I’ll not forget the likes of Jim Wagner, Ron LeFlore, Phil Mankowski, ‘Spider’ (Art) James, Billy Baldwin, Eddie Glynn. They were a good group and through it all, a lot of fun.”

Read the full article here: http://mwltraveler.com/2013/10/21/leyland-steps-down-as-manager-of-tigers/

Originally published: October 22, 2013. Last Updated: October 22, 2013.