Detroit Tigers: Five Things We Miss about Jim Leyland

kris10bentley
Feb 2, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland in the stands during the game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Indiana Hoosiers at Crisler Center. Indiana won 80-67. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 2, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland in the stands during the game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Indiana Hoosiers at Crisler Center. Indiana won 80-67. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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So as I was perusing the Interwebs looking for information about Detroit Tigers prospects in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, I ran across an MLB Cut4 piece about Jim Leyland. The piece shared what the young players could learn from the retired icon who helped bring the Tigers to two World Series.

This got me reminiscing about the former Detroit Tigers manager who has been gone for three full seasons now.

With all the negativity directed at Brad Ausmus, I thought it would be fun to look back things we miss about Jim Leyland.

The cigarettes.

Mar 4, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus (7) looks on against the New York Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus (7) looks on against the New York Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

There are plenty of fans (and non-fans) who fondly referred to Leyland as “Jimmy Smokes” due to his penchant for smoking during the game. He could often be found puffing away between innings. With the current health-conscious, physically fit manager (who is in better shape than several of his players), there is something endearing about a man and his addiction.

The rants.

No one could blow up like Leyland. He would get his whole body into the screaming matches until eventually everything just exploded out of his mouth. His face turned red, his wrinkles got wrinklier, and flames shot from his eyes. Umpires had no chance against Jimmy Smokes – especially if he had to defend his players before he got in a few puffs off his fag. Even after he got ejected, he still won the argument. Because Jim Leyland knows baseball.

The faces.

Leyland has a poker face. But, there were times when he could not hide what he was thinking. He made it perfectly clear when he was frustrated, disappointed, and fed-up. He could also put a big smile on his face, sometimes. Very infrequently. Almost never. When Leyland was pissed off…get away. There were probably even moments when his mustache wanted to get away from him, too.

The post-game meals.

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Leyland had to have starved himself during the games; because after every single one, he was filling his face full of food. Of course, he did it to irritate the media who always crowded in his office to interview him. It didn’t matter if the Tigers demolished an opponent, Leyland always seemed like the media was interrupting his Last Meal. Once the media got used to the food, it became so much more endearing to fan. I always wondered what he was going to eat next. I can’t wait to see what he eats when he manages the young guys on the USA World Baseball Classic Team.

The wins.

The Skip took the team to some huge wins. He turned around one of the worst teams in baseball in one season and brought them to the World Series. He did it against a few years later. The Leyland years were some of the most successful years in history for the Tigers – especially in recent history. The team hasn’t quite been the same since the days when he ruled the roost.

Next: Detroit Tigers: Second Half Success for Mark Lowe

What do you miss the most about Leyland? Or are you still happy he’s been gone for three years?

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