With his retirement now as a player and manager complete, Lou Pinella will wait for a call from Cooperstown as one of this generation’s most successful managers having won 1,835 games with five major league clubs.

A World Series-winning manager with the Cincinnati Reds in 1990, Pinella won six divisional championships in 23 seasons including a record 116 games versus just 46 losses with a Seattle team that included future Hall of Famers Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson in 2001.

The former 1969 Rookie of the Year and the first Kansas City Royal to see a major league pitch, Pinella managed one All-Star game (1991) while being named Manager of the Year three times (1995, 2001, and 2008).

For the history of Lou Pinella and his impact on the game cannot be truly told without telling the story of former New York Yankee manager and mentor, Billy Martin.

For like Martin, Pinella was tough, excitable, and obsessed with winning.

Not only did Pinella play for Martin in the glory years of the mid-1970’s when the New York Yankees won three consecutive American League Championships,  like Martin he fought with the late George Steinbrenner who gave Sweet Lou his managerial debut in 1986 at the early age of just 42.

Pinella would succeed Martin as Yankee skipper with a 90-72 record and a second place finish in the American League East. Martin lead the Yankees the prior season with a 91-54 mark.

Like Martin, Pinella would win 90 games in his rookie season as a manager (Martin won 97 with the Minnesota Twins in 1969). Like Martin, Pinella would only win 100 games once (2001) while Martin had his 100-game season in 1977 when both contributed as manager and player to the first Yankee World Series Championship since defeating the San Francisco Giants in seven games in 1962!

Like Martin, Lou Pinella was for the most part a utility player who rarely gained regular status in the lineup.

Both made the American League All-Star Team once, with Martin as a member of the Yankees in 1956 and Pinella as a member of Royals in 1972. Martin played 11 major league seasons while Pinella played 18 with the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Royals and Yankees.

Pinella had the distinction of succeeding Martin in 1986 and again in 1988 when Martin went 40-28 while Pinella finished the season 45-48 for an overall record of 85-76.

It would be Billy Martin’s fifth and final tenure of his beloved New York Yankees.

Martin managed three All-Star Games in 1977, 1978, and 1982, and was named AP American League Manager of the Year three times in 1976, 1982, and 1983. Some observers believe his years in Oakland developing the likes of “Billy Ball” and future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson were his greatest achievements as a major league manager.

For no baseball historian can tell the Lou Pinella story as a manager or player without the strong overtones of Billy Martin and his relationship as a manager and fellow Yankee.

Martin would finish his time as Yankee manager with a record of 556-385 in eight seasons for a .591 winning percentage. Pinella would would finish 224-193 over three years in Yankee pinstripes for a .537 winning percentage.

Lifetime, Pinella would finish with a .517 winning percentage after 23 seasons and 3,548 games managed. Martin would finish 1,253-1,013 for an impressive .553 winning percentage in 16 major league seasons with the Twins, Tigers, Rangers, A’s, and Yankees.

Martin would only miss the playoffs with Texas while Pinella would only miss the post season with Tampa Bay.

Given the obvious similarities in managerial style and approach to the game to say nothing of their personal relationship as former Yankee manager and player, it would be fitting that when Cooperstown calls Lou Pinella, that the name of Alfred Manuel Martin finally be given his due with the Hall of Fame status he most certainly has earned.

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