On November 9, 1992 — Lou Piniella is named manager of the Seattle Mariners returning the same city that changed the course of his career. Piniella was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the 1968 expansion draft in October, but was traded after spring training on April 1 to the Kansas City Royals for John Gelnar and Steve Whitaker.
Under a new ownership group, Piniella was introduced as the new manager of the Mariners in November 1992, and led the Seattle Mariners for ten seasons (1993–2002). His wife Anita initially insisted he not take the position; they lived in New Jersey in Allendale, and she thought Seattle was too far away from their family and children, and spring training was in Arizona instead of Florida. His initial contract in Seattle was for $2.5 million over three years, significantly more than his predecessor, Bill Plummer, whose two-year deal totaled $500,000.
Piniella won 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 requested out of his final year with the Mariners to manage the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. As compensation, the Devil Rays traded outfielder Randy Winn to the Mariners for infield prospect Antonio Perez.
Piniella finished with a record of 840 wins and 711 losses. All four of the Mariners’ playoff appearances in team history were under Piniella. In 2014, Pinella was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame on August 9. Piniella’s Number 14, though not yet retired, had not been issued to any player or coach until 2016, when it was issued to new third base coach Manny Acta.
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