For those who remember the old Lou Piniella, Tuesday's news conference was a sure sign that the once volatile skipper had mellowed.
Today, Lou Piniella, after 46 years on the baseball field as a player and manager, quietly decided to retire at the conclusion of this season.
"Why make this announcement now,'' Piniella asked in a prepared statement. "[GM] Jim Hendry asked me in recent weeks regarding my future with the team and I told him I had made the decision to retire at the end of the season. Since my decision has now been made, I don't want to mislead anyone about my intentions when asked in the future."
"But more importantly, announcing my decision now is what's best for this organization in the long run. It gives Jim Hendry ample time to find the next manager and he doesn't need to do so in secrecy. The Cubs are one of the greatest organizations in baseball. I care very deeply for this organization and want nothing more than for it to experience present and long-term success. I'm proud of our accomplishments during my time here and this will be a perfect way for me to end my career.''
The Cubs, who he managed to consecutive playoff appearances for the second time in their history, have largely been a disappointment this season. They currently sit at 42-52 going into Tuesday's game, 10.5 games behind first-place St. Louis.
"Let me make one thing perfectly clear: our work is far from over,'' Piniella said. "I want to keep the momentum going more than anything else and win as many games as we can to get back in this pennant race. I'm going to give every effort I have to help this team win and that will remain my sole focus through the rest of the season."
When asked what his reasons for retirement were, the skipper cited a wish to spend more time with his family, but didn't deny the possibility of an advisory position with the Cubs.
"I couldn't be more appreciative of the Cubs organization for providing me the opportunity to manage this ball club," Piniella said. "I've had four wonderful years here that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. I've grown to love the city and the fans but at my age, it will be time to enter a new phase in my life. It will enable me to spend more valuable time with my family—my wife, my kids and my grandchildren. God has blessed me to have been able to work this many years in the game that I love.''
Piniella, who won a World Series in 1990 with the Cincinnati Reds, was one of baseball's famous fire starters through much of the 90's and into this decade. He is currently tenth all-time in ejections. He later went on to manage the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Devil Rays before coming to Chicago in 2007.
It was during his time in Seattle that the Mariners tied the all-time regular season record for wins, with 116, and made seven of the franchise's eleven playoff appearances.
He currently has a career record of 1,823-1,689, and is fourteenth on the career wins list.
Possible candidates to replace Piniella for next season include former Chicago Cubs star Ryne Sandberg, who currently manages the Triple-A Iowa team. Sandberg has been more than eager to accept the position, if offered.
"That's where I spent my entire career," Sandberg said. "This has been my dream minor league job. So at the major league level that would be a dream come true for me. But I'm also open to getting to the major leagues wherever that opening or phone call would come from."
Sandberg also said that Piniella had "a heck of a managerial career, that's for sure. I hope he goes out on a good note. I hope the team can do well for him from here on out."