Northwest Coach Profiles: Lou Piniella

MLB Baseball: Lou Piniella

Seattle sports fans have a lot of respect for Lou Piniella.  After all he is the ONLY Mariners manager to take the team into the post season in their 35 year history.

Born: August 28, 1943
Place of birth: Tampa, Florida
Championships: 3× World Series champion (1977, 1978, 1990)

Lou was born, raised and educated in Tampa Florida, those that were the closest to Lou describe him as passionate determined….

Ok what they actually said was that he had a bad temper.  This was a trait that followed him his entire career.

It also is what drove him to be meticulous in his technique until it perfect.

That attitude is what earned him his lifelong nickname Sweet Lou.

College Career.

Lou moved from a prominent sports start at Jesuit High School to a prominent sports star for the University of Tampa and played both basketball and baseball for the Spartans until he was literally followed home by a baseball scout one day.  Goodbye College.

Pro Career.

Lou made his MLB debut in 1964 for the Orioles and again in 1968 for the Indians. In 1969, with a career average of .000 he made history by recording the first at bat, hit and run scored for the Kansas City Royals.

Lou Piniella

Lou Piniella Hired by the M's in 1993!

Because of his limited playing time, Lou still qualified as a Rookie and would have a stellar season hitting .282 with OPS of .741 earning him the Rookie of the Year award.

Traded to New York in 1974 and Lou would play the remainder of his career as a Yankee where he would earn two World Series rings.

Piniella finished his career with a .286 average.

Managerial Career

Piniella retired in 1984 but kept the pinstripes working as the Yankees hitting coach until he took over as Manager in 1986 after one of the Billy Martin firings (In 1988 Billy would replace Piniella).

After a year of broadcasting in New York, he was hired by the Cincinnati Reds in 1990 leading them to a World Series win.

In 1993, he was hired by Seattle.  Fans remember his on field antics as well as his firm leadership. His hard work paid off when he was named AL Manager of the Year in 1995 and 2001.

It was heartbreaking for fans when he demanded to be traded to Tampa because he didn’t like the direction the M’s were headed.

Looking at the decade since Lou left Seattle – looks like he was right.

Piniella would go on to manage the heart break clubs of the Rays and the Cubs. In 2008 Lou would pick up the NL Manager of the Year award, but earn another post season loss.

Lou stayed on as the Cubs Skipper until 2010 when he retired abruptly after a Sunday loss.

It has been reported that 68 year old Piniella will head to the broadcast booth in New York yet again.  It just goes to show that baseball is something that sticks to your soul.

To find out more about Lou pick up his biography “Sweet Lou… Lou Piniella: A Life in Baseball”

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