August 23, 2010

"This will be the last time I put on a uniform. It's been very special to me.": After half a century as player, coach and manager, Lou Piniella retires from baseball.

posted by lil_brown_bat to baseball at 10:20 AM - 7 comments

I will always remember Lou Piniella, but not for his achievements in the dugout or his Homeric confrontations with umpires. My recollection of him is from an afternoon in October 1978. If you are from most parts of New England, the name Bucky F#@##$ing Dent will be well known. What is not as well known is that Boston had closed the gap in the score to just one run with one out in the 9th inning when, with Rick Burleson on first, Jerry Remy hit a fly ball to right field. At that time of the year and that time of the day, right field in Fenway Park is notorious for its sun problems. Sure enough, Piniella had completely lost the ball in the sun. He was smart enough to stand as if he would make a routine catch, which held Burleson near the 1st base bag. When the ball dropped in front of him, Piniella made a desperate stab to keep the ball from getting past him, keeping Burleson from making it to 3rd. Jim Rice hit a deep fly ball on which Burleson could easily have scored from 3rd, but because of Piniella's heads-up play he could get only to 3rd. Yaz popped out to end it, and 26 more years of frustration ensued.

Piniella to me was always a class act, and my opinion has always been colored by that one play in right field.

posted by Howard_T at 10:48 AM on August 23

A bit of the presser was replayed on Mike & Mike this morning and had me rather misty-eyed when he broke down.

posted by NoMich at 11:39 AM on August 23

Yaz popped out to end it, and 26 more years of frustration ensued.

I don't have to believe this.

posted by justgary at 02:22 PM on August 23

Lou has looked pretty unhappy in the dugout most of the time this year. Of course, the Cubs have been playing like buffoons most of the time this year, too. Other than the first year, he really had no chance to make a difference in Chitown with that assortment of underachievers and injury ridden players.

posted by mjkredliner at 04:56 PM on August 23

I really like Lou, and first remember reading about him when I was a teenager in Ball Four. Then he was in charge of those great Cincinnati teams of the early 90s. Then he was in Seattle and those teams were great. And then hilarious as the over-qualified manager of the woeful Rays. Now it seems like he's been manager of the Cubs for longer than just three and a half years.

Come to think of it from the first time I've ever watched a game, Piniella has been involved in baseball. Today is my first day of Lou Piniella-free baseball.

Now I just feel old.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:18 PM on August 23

It's mine too, Weedy. I was feeling bad for Lou before you pointed that out. Now I'm feeling bad for myself.

posted by rcade at 07:00 PM on August 23

Hopefully "Sweet Lou" will wear a uniform again next year when he's invited to Yankee Stadium for Old Timers Day. I always like him and his temper was as much a part of his being on the field as his bat and glove. Let's pray for his Mom.

posted by wildbill1 at 06:53 AM on August 24

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