According to Jim Leyland, the fuel was running low in early September, and so on September 8th, he notified general manager Dave Dombrowski of his intention to step aside at the end of the season. Despite Dombrowski's request for him to return anyway, he will not.
Leyland steps away from the Tigers with exactly 700 wins compared to 597 losses, good for a .540 winning percentage. Leyland also led the team to four playoff appearances, three AL Central division titles, and a pair of American League pennants in 2006 and 2012. The only piece missing to his now storied run was a World Series crown.
As Leyland so succinctly put it, "it's time."
Leyland and Dombrowski kept the decision a secret from almost everyone inside the organization, expect owner Mike Ilitch and Leyland's long time friend and bench coach, Gene Lamont.
Leyland announced his decision to the team after they lost in Boston in game 6 of the ALCS last Saturday night.
He will not be leaving the organization entirely though, as he'll be remaining with the Tigers in a capacity to be determined, stating he "wants to retire a Tiger."
Dombrowski said he will beginning interviewing managerial candidates "very soon" to replace the likely future Hall of Famer. Names initially floated were abundant and largely without direction.
Some candidates could include third base coach Tom Brookens, bench coach Gene Lamont, former Tigers hitting instructor and current Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, and current Angels manager Mike Scioscia, but given that the Tigers will be looking to compete for a World Series crown again in 2014, an experienced veteran will likely be preferred.