Tigers manager Leyland gets contract extension through 2009

Oct 2, 2007 - 4:15 PM DETROIT (Ticker) -- The Detroit Tigers gave Jim Leyland a vote of confidence Tuesday, extending the manager's contract one year through the 2009 season.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal came two days after the 62-year-old Leyland completed his second season with the Tigers and his 16th in the majors. After enduring 12 consecutive losing campaigns from 1994-2005, the Tigers have thrived under Leyland over the last two years, going 183-141.

However, team management apparently needed some time to ponder Leyland's future with the club. A Pittsburgh resident, Leyland met with general manager Dave Dombrowski on Monday but left town without a contract extension.

Less than 24 hours later, Dombrowski seemed confident in Leyland's ability to guide the ballclub.

"After our conversation yesterday, we are pleased to extend Jim's contract through the 2009 season," Dombrowski said. "We are very happy with the outstanding job he has done and with the leadership he provides our organization. We look forward to Jim managing the Tigers for a long time."

"I'm very grateful to Mr. Ilitch (owner Mike Ilitch), Dave and the Tigers organization," Leyland said. "I have enjoyed my first two seasons as the manager and I appreciate the tremendous fan support from all the great Tigers fans. I look forward to managing the Tigers for a long time."

Leyland made an immediate splash in his first season in Detroit, managing the Tigers to a 95-67 record and guiding the team to its first World Series appearance since 1984.

But Detroit seemed to take a step back in 2007, going 88-74 and finishing eight games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians in the American League Central Division.

The Tigers were slowed by injuries throughout the season, as designated hitter Gary Sheffield, starter Kenny Rogers and relievers Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney all were sidelined for extended periods of time.

It was a far cry from the 2006 campaign, when Leyland guided Detroit to its highest regular-season win total since 1987 and was named AL Manager of the Year.

Despite losing the division to the Minnesota Twins on the final day of the regular season, the Tigers won the wild card, upset the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series and swept the Oakland Athletics in the Championship Series.

Also a two-time NL Manager of the Year, Leyland owns a career record of 1,252-1,272 in parts of 16 seasons with the Tigers, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Leyland managed the Marlins to the franchise's first World Series title in 1997 and also guided the Pirates to three straight NL East Division titles from 1990-1992.

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