||Devil Rays Hire Mariners’ Piniella For Top Job
Lou Piniella slid into home plate Monday, October 25, 2002, as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays announced that he is returning to his hometown to become the team’s new manager. The Devil Rays and Piniella reached an agreement last week but postponed the announcement until after the end of the World Series per Major League Baseball rules.
Piniella comes to the Devil Rays from Seattle where he skippered for the Mariners. With his move to Tampa Bay, Piniella will become the second-highest paid manager in baseball. The Devil Rays presented him with a contract with an average annual value of $3.25-million. Only the Yankees’ Joe Torre, with a $5-million per season agreement has a sweeter deal.
Piniella signed a four-year, $13-million contract with incentive bonuses for victories that could add up to $3-million more.
“I think he’ll really bring credibility to the Devil Rays with his strengths and personality,” said Fox network World Series analyst Kevin Kennedy. “He’ll do everything he can to make that a proud franchise. It’s the right choice for both sides.”
Piniella has a career record of 1,319-1,135, trailing only Atlanta’s Bobby Cox, St. Louis’ Tony La Russa and Torre in wins among active managers. He began his managing career with the Yankees in 1986, moved on to the Cincinnati Reds in 1990, and started his stint with the Mariners in 1993. He had a winning record in 11 of 15 full seasons, won the World Series with the Reds in 1990 and coached the Mariners into the American League Championship in three different seasons.
Fifty-nine year-old Piniella grew up in west Tampa, attending Jesuit High and the University of Tampa and earning All-America honors. He currently lives in Tampa with his family.