7/20 Lou to retire at end of season
Lou Piniella announced his retirement Tuesday, saying this will be his last season. Piniella, who turns 67 on Aug. 28, issued a statement, saying he wanted to enter a new phase in his life.
“I couldn’t be more appreciative of the Cubs organization for providing me the opportunity to manage this ballclub,” Piniella said in his statement. “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,” he said. “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.”
He has had several conversations with GM Jim Hendry about the future and apparently decided now was the time to make an announcement.
“Why make this announcement now?” Piniella said. “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,” he said. “It gives Jim Hendry ample time to find the next manager and he doesn’t need to do so in secrecy.”
Hall of Famer and former Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg, who is currently managing the Triple-A Iowa team, has made it clear he would like to someday manage the big league club. Expect plenty of rumors.
This season, the Cubs were 42-52 and 10 1/2 games back in the Central, and it’s been a struggle. Piniella has had to deal with off the field issues as well, such as Carlos Zambrano’s tantrum June 25 in which he blasted his teammates for not playing well behind him.
— Carrie Muskat