The managerial carousel routinely spins faster at the end of the baseball season and vacancies arise throughout both the American and National Leagues.
But seldom do we see a couple of mainstays such as Lou Piniella and Bobby Cox leave in the same season.
Piniella, who won a World Series in Cincinnati in 1990, was unable to complete the 2010 season with the Chicago Cubs because of personal family issues in Florida.
Cox took his Atlanta Braves to the National League playoffs this season, only to be eliminated by the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
Both managers left tearfully on the day they realized they would no longer wear a baseball uniform after decades of being either a player, coach or manager.
“I didn’t think my career would end like this,” Piniella said on his final day in the Wrigley Field dugout.
“A grown man is not supposed to do this,” exclaimed Cox as his voice cracked and he fought back tears.
Piniella wound up with a 316-293 record in his three-plus seasons in Chicago. Only seven managers have won more games than Piniella in club history, while his .520 winning percentage is the best since Charlie Grimm’s .547 combined mark from 1932-38, 1944-49 and 1960. Piniella was the first Cubs manager in 100 years to lead the club to consecutive post-season appearances in 2007 and 2008.
“Lou helped raise the bar here for this entire organization and for that we’ll be forever thankful,” said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who eventually named Mike Quade the full-time manager. Quade served well in the interim capacity for the final six weeks of the season. “We understand (Piniella) needs to be with his family and respect his decision to retire at this time. We salute his tremendous career and wish him and his family long-term health and happiness.”
Whitey Herzog became the 19th manager to enter the Hall of Fame during ceremonies last summer in Cooperstown, N.Y. He feels Cox and Piniella also should be considered for the Hall of Fame.
"I look at the present day (alignment) of managers and Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Joe Torre … I think (Ron) Gardenhire is an outstanding manager. I think Piniella is. There's about … Jim Leyland … there's about six or seven present-day managers that's got — oh, (Mike) Scioscia out in L.A. …they've got a chance to be in the Hall of Fame," Herzog said.
"I got out at a young age. … I managed 18 years," Herzog said. "I could've probably managed another 10 years, probably would've gotten in the Hall of Fame a little bit sooner. But I'm alive, healthy and very gracious that I'm a member of the Hall of Fame."