Lou Piniella

Louis Victor Piniella s the current manager of the Chicago Cubs and a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He has been nicknamed "Sweet Lou," both for his swing as a major league hitter and, facetiously, to describe his demeanor as a player and manager.


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Baseball, Teamwork/Teambuilding


Full Bio


Louis Victor Piniella s the current manager of the Chicago Cubs and a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He has been nicknamed "Sweet Lou," both for his swing as a major league hitter and, facetiously, to describe his demeanor as a player and manager.

Piniella grew up in West Tampa, Florida. His Asturian grandparents immigrated to Florida from Asturias, Spain. As a child, he played PONY League Baseball alongside Tony La Russa. He attended Jesuit High School of Tampa where he was an All-American in basketball. After graduation, he attended the University of Tampa where he was an All-American in baseball.

Piniella, at the age of 21, played in his first major league game in 1964 with the Baltimore Orioles. At 24, his second major league season was with the Cleveland Indians. He joined the Seattle Pilots during their 1969 preseason, but was quickly traded. He was prominently mentioned in Jim Bouton's classic book about the Seattle Pilots, Ball Four.

Piniella played for the Kansas City Royals from 1969-73, and was the American League's AL Rookie of the Year in 1969. He was the first player to come to bat in Royals history. On April 8 of their first season, he led off the bottom of the 1st against left-hander Tom Hall of the Minnesota Twins. He doubled to left field, then scored on an RBI single by Jerry Adair.

That was followed by 11 years as a member of the New York Yankees, where they won five AL East titles (1976-78, 1980 and 1981), four AL pennants (1976-78 and 1981), and two World Series championships (1977-78). After center fielder Mickey Rivers was traded, during the 1979 season, Piniella became the Yankees leadoff hitter. One of the more underrated players of the 1970s (he made just one all star team), he compiled 1705 lifetime hits despite not playing full time for just under half of his career.

He wore uniform number 24 for the Orioles, and 23 for the Indians. His longer stretches were wearing number 9 for the Royals, and 14 for the Yankees.

Known for his often aggressive and sometimes explosive behavior, Piniella has been ejected 61 times in his managerial career.[1] Among active managers, only Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and all-time leader Bobby Cox have received more ejections.

After retiring as a player, Piniella managed the Yankees from 1986 to 1987 and for most of 1988 before briefly serving as the club's general manager for the rest of the 1988 and 1989 seasons. Piniella managed the Cincinnati Reds between 1990 and 1992, a tenure that included winning the 1990 World Series against the heavily-favored Oakland Athletics.

From 1993-2002, he managed the Seattle Mariners, winning the AL Manager of the Year Award in 1995, and again in 2001 when he led the Mariners to a record-tying 116 wins. After winning the 2001 AL Division Series, the Mariners dropped the first two games of the AL Championship Series, and Piniella held an angry post-game press conference in which he guaranteed the Mariners would win two out of three games in New York to return the ALCS to Seattle. However, the Yankees closed out the series at Yankee Stadium, and the Mariners have not reached the playoffs since. Following the 2002 season, Piniella was included in a rare "trade" that sent him to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, with outfielder Randy Winn going to Seattle.[clarify]

In the Mariners' 30-season history, they have had nine winning seasons and reached the playoffs four times. Seven of the winning seasons and all of the playoff appearances occurred during Piniella's ten years with the Mariners.

Piniella is the only manager in Mariners history to have a winning record in his tenure with the team, while serving at least one season.

In his first two seasons with the Devil Rays, Piniella was able to improve the team somewhat, and they won a franchise-record 70 games in 2004, which was also their first season in which they did not finish last in their division, which he also guaranteed (he also jokingly said, after saying it several times, "If I say it any more times I might have us winning the World Series!".) During the 2005 season, Piniella was very critical of Devil Rays front office for focusing too much on the future and not enough on immediate results, and for not increasing payroll quickly enough to field a competitive team (they started the season with a $30 million payroll, which was the lowest in the major leagues; the Yankees payroll in 2005 was over $208 million).

Tensions eventually made Piniella step down as the Devil Rays' manager on September 21, 2005. Sweet Lou had one more season remaining on his contract from October 2002, but agreed to a $2.2 million buyout, in lieu of $4.4 million that he was due, had he decided to manage the team for one more season. He would have also received $1.25 million in deferred salary from 2003.

On October 16, 2006, Piniella agreed to a three-year contract to manage the Chicago Cubs. The contract is for $10 million over three seasons with a $5 million option for a fourth year.

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