Lou Piniella

A photo of Lou Piniella.

Louis Victor Piniella (Template:PronEng; born August 28, 1943, in Tampa, Florida, United States) is the current manager of the Chicago Cubs and a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He has been nicknamed "Sweet Lou," both for his swing as a major league hitter and, facetiously, to describe his demeanor as a player and manager.

Early lifeEdit

Piniella grew up in West Tampa, Florida. His Asturian grandparents immigrated to Florida from Asturias, Spain. As a child, he played PONY League Baseball alongside Tony La Russa. He attended Jesuit High School of Tampa where he was an All-American in basketball. After graduation, he attended the University of Tampa where he was an All-American in baseball.

Playing careerEdit

Piniella, at the age of 21, played in his first major league game in 1964 with the Baltimore Orioles. At 24, his second major league season was with the Cleveland Indians. He joined the Seattle Pilots during their 1969 preseason, but was quickly traded. He was prominently mentioned in Jim Bouton's classic book about the Seattle Pilots, Ball Four.

Piniella played for the Kansas City Royals from 1969-73, and was the American League's AL Rookie of the Year in 1969. He was the first player to come to bat in Royals history. On April 8 of their first season, he led off the bottom of the 1st against left-hander Tom Hall of the Minnesota Twins. He doubled to left field, then scored on an RBI single by Jerry Adair.

That was followed by 11 years as a member of the New York Yankees, where they won five AL East titles (1976-78, 1980 and 1981), four AL pennants (1976-78 and 1981), and two World Series championships (1977-78). After center fielder Mickey Rivers was traded, during the 1979 season, Piniella became the Yankees leadoff hitter. One of the more underrated players of the 1970s (he made just one all star team), he compiled 1705 lifetime hits despite not playing full time for just under half of his career.

He wore uniform number 24 for the Orioles, and 23 for the Indians. His longer stretches were wearing number 9 for the Royals, and 14 for the Yankees.

Managerial careerEdit

Known for his often aggressive and sometimes explosive behavior, Piniella has been ejected 61 times in his managerial career.[1] Among active managers, only Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and all-time leader Bobby Cox have received more ejections.[2] He often sends his pitching coach to remove a pitcher from the game.[citation needed] He once got into a clubhouse scuffle with pitcher Rob Dibble while with the Reds, which was caught on video, ending with the two being pulled apart and Lou screaming, "You don't want to be treated like a man!"[citation needed]

New York Yankees and Cincinnati RedsEdit

After retiring as a player, Piniella managed the Yankees from 1986 to 1987 and for most of 1988 before briefly serving as the club's general manager for the rest of the 1988 and 1989 seasons. Piniella managed the Cincinnati Reds between 1990 and 1992, a tenure that included winning the 1990 World Series against the heavily-favored Oakland Athletics.

On August 12, 1990, in a home game against the San Francisco Giants, Pinella argued with umpire Dutch Rennert after Barry Larkin was called out at first at the end of the fifth ending. After throwing his hat down, Pinella was ejected. Afterwards, Pinella ripped first base out of the ground and threw it twice toward right field. The Reds went on to win the game 6–4. [3]

Seattle MarinersEdit

From 19932002, he managed the Seattle Mariners, winning 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 was included in a rare "trade" that sent him to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, with outfielder Randy Winn going to Seattle.Template:Clarifyme

In the Mariners' 30-season history, they have had nine 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 is the only manager in Mariners history to have a winning record in his tenure with the team, while serving at least one season.

In a game on September 18, 2002 in a 3–2 (10) win against the Texas Rangers, Piniella came out to argue a call in the bottom of the ninth in which the umpire called out Ben Davis after a close play at first and was immediately tossed by first base umpire C.B. Bucknor after throwing down his hat. Afterwards, he kicked his hat several times, aggressively approached Bucknor as he was screaming in his face, and kicked dirt on him as well. After being restrained by first base coach Johnny Moses, he then ripped first base from its mooring then threw it down the right field foul line twice after he imitated the umpire tossing him out.[4]


Tampa Bay Devil RaysEdit

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, which was also their 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 very critical of 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 (they 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. Sweet Lou 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 CubsEdit

On October 16, 2006, Piniella agreed to a three-year contract to manage the Chicago Cubs. The contract is for $10 million over three seasons with a $5 million option for a fourth year [5]

Famous for his anger and meltdowns, he showed it during a press conference after a Cubs-Reds game on April 13, 2007, when Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano blew a five run lead in the 5th inning in which the Reds scored 6 runs, winning the game 6-5. A reporter asked him what was not working for the Cubs. He responded in a loud, angry voice, "What the hell do you think isn't working?! You saw the damn game! … This guy is your ace, you got a 5–0 lead with the eighth and ninth hitters coming up, you feel pretty good about that inning and all of a sudden it turns into a six-run inning,” Piniella said, obviously still agitated but calmer. “And then I bring in the reliever[6] who’s throwing 30-to-40-foot curveballs to boot. I can see. I can start to see some of the ways this team has lost ballgames. I can see it. We’ve got to correct it obviously. This game here is one that got away from us that really shouldn’t.” In a similar meltdown after the May 17, 2007, game against the Mets, Lou stated, "I don't care about feelings".[citation needed]

On June 2, 2007, Piniella was ejected as a Cub for the first time after throwing down his hat, kicking dirt at third base umpire Mark Wegner, and kicking his cap three times. He was arguing a call that Angel Pagan was out at third attempting to advance on a wild pitch. In the post-game press conference, he said Pagan looked safe from the dugout, but acknowledged that, after seeing the replay, the umpire made the right call. However, he also said he was going to argue no matter if Pagan was safe or out: "it didn't make a damn bit of difference." He was suspended for four games, the longest of his career. The Cubs - 22-31 in their 53 games through June 2nd - went on from there to capture the National League Central Division title.

Managerial recordEdit

Updated through August 8, 2008

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
New York Yankees1986 9072.5562nd in AL East - - - -
1987 8973.5493rd in AL East - - - -
1988 4548.4845th in AL East - - - -
NYY Total224193.537 - - - - -
Cincinnati Reds1990 9171.5621st in NL West82.800Won World Series
1991 7488 .457 5th in NL West -- - -
1992 9072 .556 2nd in NL West --- -
CIN Total255231.525 - 8 2 .800 -
Seattle Mariners1993 8280.5064th in AL West ----
1994 4963.4383rd in AL West ----
1995 7966.5451st in AL West 56.455Lost ALCS
1996 8576.5282nd in AL West ----
1997 9072.5561st in AL West 13.250Lost ALDS
1998 7685.4723rd in AL West ----
1999 7983.4883rd in AL West ----
2000 9171.5622nd in AL West 54.556Lost ALCS
2001 11646.7161st in AL West 46.400Lost ALCS
2002 9369.5743rd in AL West ----
SEA Total 840711.542-1519.441 3 Divisional Titles
Tampa Bay Devil Rays2003 6399.3895th in AL East ----
2004 7091.4354th in AL East ----
2005 6795.4145th in AL East ----
TB Total200285.412-----
Chicago Cubs 2007 8577.525 1st in NL Central 03.000Lost NLDS
2008 8250.621
CHC Total 167 127 .568 -03.0001 Divisional Title
AL Total 1264 1189 .515 -1519.441 3 Divisional Titles
NL Total 400 352 .532 -85 .615 World Series, 1 Divisional Title
Career Total1,6641,541.519-2324.489 World Series, 4 Divisional Titles


  • 1969 - AL Rookie of the Year
  • 1972 - AL All-Star
  • 1995 - AL Manager of the Year
  • 2001 - AL Manager of the Year

Broadcasting careerEdit

After parting ways with the Devil Rays, Piniella spent one season as a color commentator 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 Template: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."[7]

FOX fired Lyons for making the above remarks, which FOX determined to be racially insensitive.[8] Piniella later defended Lyons saying Lyons was "kidding" and that "There isn't a racist bone in his [Lyons'] body.[9].

In other mediaEdit

Piniella made a cameo 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.[10]

See alsoEdit


External links Edit

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