The Detroit Tigers announced on Saturday that manager Ron Gardenhire is retiring effective immediately and will not return for a fourth season.
Gardenhire, who turns 63 next month, is 132-241 (.354 winning percentage) in two-plus seasons with the Tigers. He signed a three-year deal when he was hired before the 2018 season, the first full year the team embraced the rebuild.
Lloyd McClendon will manage the team the remainder of the season.
“This afternoon, when I got here to the office, I went to Gardy’s office to talk baseball stuff,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said. “At that point, we started talking, and he mentioned to me he was going to retire. He wasn’t feeling well from a health perspective.”
Gardenhire, a cancer survivor, said he originally thought about retiring at the end of the season. But as he talked to Avila, he said, “I’ll step out right now.” He said he hasn’t felt well since dealing with a stomach virus earlier this month in Minnesota.
“I’ve got grandbabies and kids I need to take care of and my wife,” Gardenhire said. “Very tough decision. … But I had to do what’s right for me.”
His .354 winning percentage makes Gardenhire the least successful manager in Tigers history, one point behind Luis Pujols, who was 55-100 (.355) in one season (2002).
The team flirted with a postseason bid this year, with an expanded field and a shortened season, but have all but been eliminated from contention.
“He took us through the toughest two years of the transition,” Avila said. “… His leadership has gotten through us and … has put us in a position to bring winning baseball back to Detroit.”