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Jim Leyland, who led the Detroit Tigers to two pennants in eight seasons and got them to the verge of a third this season, will not return for a ninth.

Leyland announced in a press conference Monday that he is stepping down as Detroit's manager.

SHARP: Leyland made the Tigers relevant again

"I'm going to be 69 years old," he said. "I'm not ashamed of that. I'm proud of it. The fuel's getting a little low."

Leyland will be accepting another position with the club, which is yet to be determined.

"I want to retire a Tiger," Leyland said. "So long. It's not goodbye. And from the bottom of my heart thank you for having me."

Leyland was without a contract for 2014.

MORE: 8 things we'll miss about Leyland

Detroit was Leyland's fourth and most successful stop in a managerial career that likely will conclude with his enshrinement in baseball's Hall of Fame. He posted a 700-597 record with the Tigers, and has 1,769 wins in a 22-year career. He won a World Series with the Florida Marlins in 1997 and led the Pittsburgh Pirates to three consecutive NL East titles from 1990-92.

This season, the Tigers won 93 games and a third consecutive AL Central title. They defeated the Oakland Athletics in the AL Division Series before losing the AL Championship Series in six games to the Boston Red Sox.

"This one hurt bad, because I thought we let one get away. We did it collectively, there's no one culprit," Leyland said. "This is one that's going to stick with me."

His final season was the culmination of a decade-long rise of the Tigers, a franchise that bottomed out in 2003, when it lost an American League-record 119 games. Leyland replaced Alan Trammell after the 2005 season, at a time Tigers owner Mike Ilitch began aggressively acquiring veterans such as Magglio Ordonez, Pudge Rodriguez and Kenny Rogers.

TIGERS: Will the window stay open in 2014?

The next season, rookie Justin Verlander arrived along with Leyland, and he guided them to the AL pennant before a five-game loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Subsequent off-seasons brought Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister via trade, and the Tigers have made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

Such success also bred outsize expectations in Detroit, and Leyland noted this spring that he no intention of retiring, "whether we win or don't win."

"If I went out tomorrow, I wouldn't care how any of you guys felt, I would feel like I went out on top," he said in March. "I was a backup Double A catcher who hit (bleeping) .222. I've managed in the big leagues 22 years, with a world title, division titles, American League championships. Now, what the (heck)?"

Monday, he took the longer view, realizing the franchise was still well-positioned.

"What's gone on here has been unbelievable," he said. "We've won a lot of games, we've had a lot of seats filled. I came here to make talent a team, and I think we did that."

Leyland's departure creates a whopping five managerial openings: the Tigers, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners.

Contributing: The Detroit Free Press

YearAgeTmLgWLW-L%Finish
198641Pittsburgh PiratesNL6498.3956
198742Pittsburgh PiratesNL8082.4944
198843Pittsburgh PiratesNL8575.5312
198944Pittsburgh PiratesNL7488.4575
199045Pittsburgh PiratesNL9567.5861
199146Pittsburgh PiratesNL9864.6051
199247Pittsburgh PiratesNL9666.5931
199348Pittsburgh PiratesNL7587.4635
199449Pittsburgh PiratesNL5361.4653
199550Pittsburgh PiratesNL5886.4035
199651Pittsburgh PiratesNL7389.4515
199752Florida MarlinsNL9270.5682WS Champs
199853Florida MarlinsNL54108.3335
199954Colorado RockiesNL7290.4445
200661Detroit TigersAL9567.5862AL Pennant
200762Detroit TigersAL8874.5432
200863Detroit TigersAL7488.4575
200964Detroit TigersAL8677.5282
201065Detroit TigersAL8181.5003
201166Detroit TigersAL9567.5861
201267Detroit TigersAL8874.5431AL Pennant
201368Detroit TigersAL9369.5741
Pittsburgh Pirates11 years851863.4963.5
Florida Marlins2 years146178.4513.51 Pennant and 1 World Series Title
Colorado Rockies1 year7290.4445.0
Detroit Tigers8 years700597.5402.12 Pennants
22 years17691728.5063.03 Pennants and 1 World Series Title
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/21/2013.

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GALLERY: MANAGERIAL CAROUSEL

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