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Leyland low on fuel, steps down as Tigers manager

Detroit Tigers President CEO General Manager David Dombrowski (L) and Jim Leyland speak during a press conference to announce Leyland's retirement as manager of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on October 21, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit Tigers President CEO General Manager David Dombrowski (L) and Jim Leyland speak during a press conference to announce Leyland's retirement as manager of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on October 21, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan

Jim Leyland is stepping down as manager of the Detroit Tigers, a move he decided on in September and not after their elimination from the play-offs at the weekend.

"It's time," Leyland said Monday at a press conference. "The fuel was starting to get low. It's time to turn it over to somebody else."

In eight seasons at the helm Leyland guided the Tigers to four play-off appearances and two American League pennants.

Detroit reached the World Series in his first season in 2006, losing to the Cardinals, and also lost to the Giants in last year's Fall Classic.

The Tigers were 93-69 this past season and won the American League Central title for the third straight year, but lost to Boston in the AL Championship Series.

"It's been a thrill," added Leyland, who said he would take a different post with the Tigers but didn't want to be in the dugout anymore.

"We won quite a bit. I'm very grateful to be a small part of that."

Leyland said he had decided he wouldn't manage another season in September, but told few people, including his wife and Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski.

Leyland said he told his players after their season was ended by the Red Sox on Saturday.

"I didn't know how to take it when they clapped," Leyland quipped about the reaction from his players.

"I spent the last 24 hours saying I wasn't going to get emotional. I had a lot of nice comments from my players."

Leyland admitted that the six-game loss to the Red Sox in the American League title series "really hurt".

"I felt like we let one get away, that's what hurt more than anything else," he said.

"With all due respect to the Boston Red Sox, they earned it, I truly believe the Detroit Tigers should be playing (in the World Series)."

Leyland also managed the Pittsburgh Pirates for 11 seasons, the Florida Marlins for two years and the Colorado Rockies for one.

He guided the Pirates to three straight National League East division titles from 1990-92 and left after the 1996 season to become the skipper with the Marlins.

He guided the Marlins to their first World Series title in 1997 and spent one more season in Florida before taking over in Colorado in 1999. After a six-year hiatus, the Tigers hired him in 2006.

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