Lou Piniella’s worst fear comes true as HoF ballot leaves him in red

Ex-Yankees great Lou Piniella at the Reds' practice in Goodyear, Arizona, in Feb 2018.
Sara Molnick
Monday December 4, 2023

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Lou Piniella, a distinguished figure in the realm of baseball known for his tenure as a player and manager with the New York Yankees, experienced a setback on Sunday night. The 80-year-old fell just one vote short of securing a coveted spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame during the 2024 contemporary era ballot.

This outcome is particularly disheartening for Lou Piniella, given his remarkable achievements, which include winning World Series titles both as a player and a manager. Throughout his career as a Major League skipper, he amassed an impressive record of over 1,800 victories.

Notably, this isn’t the first time Lou Piniella has come close to the Hall of Fame induction. In 2018, he narrowly missed the honor by a single vote, despite being on the Veterans’ Committee ballot twice before.

The sole individual from the ballot to secure election was manager Jim Leyland, a notable figure with a World Series title to his name. Impressively, he garnered 15 out of the 16 votes cast by the committee.

Lou Piniella was apprehensive about the result

During his playing days, Lou Piniella dedicated the majority of his career to the Yankees, having been a part of the team from 1974 to 1984. His association with the Yankees began when they acquired him through a trade from Kansas City.

Former Yankees great and manager Lou Piniella

Over the course of 11 seasons with the Yankees, he maintained a batting average of .295, achieving 57 home runs and 417 RBIs. As an outfielder, he played a pivotal role in the Yankees’ triumphs in the 1977 and 1978 World Series, both of which ended in victories for the team.

Prior to his tenure with New York, Lou Piniella made his debut in professional baseball as a player with Baltimore in 1964. Notably, he earned recognition as the American League Rookie of the Year in 1969 during his time with Kansas City.

Earlier the Yankees legend has expressed apprehension that his on-field outbursts would adversely impact his chances.

Following his playing career, Lou Piniella continued his association with the Yankees, serving as the team’s hitting coach. Subsequently, he transitioned to the role of the team’s manager from 1986 to 1987, and later assumed the position of general manager in 1988. After a stint away from managerial duties, he returned to the bench to fill the vacancy left by the dismissal of Billy Martin.

During his tenure as the Yankees’ manager, Lou Piniella compiled a record of 224-193, but despite his efforts, the team fell short of making the playoffs.

Former Yankees great and manager Lou Piniella

He achieved managerial success beyond the confines of New York. Under his leadership, the Cincinnati Reds secured the 1990 World Series title, accomplishing a sweep against the Oakland Athletics. Subsequently, he enjoyed a fruitful decade with the Seattle Mariners, clinching three AL West titles and emerging victorious over the Yankees in the 1995 Wild Card playoffs.

He extended his managerial career with the Tampa Bay Rays for an additional three seasons from 2003 to 2005 and then went on to spend four seasons with the Chicago Cubs from 2007 to 2010. During Lou Piniella’s tenure with the Cubs, he guided the team to two NL Central titles. His overall managerial record stood at 1,835 wins and 1,713 losses.

Other individuals featured on the ballot included managers Davey Johnson and Cito Gaston, umpires Joe West and Ed Montague, as well as executives Hank Peters and Bill White.

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