Three-time Manager of the Year Jim Leyland will manage Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in 2017, USA Baseball said Friday.
Leyland, 71, managed the Pirates, Marlins, Rockies and Tigers from 1986-2013 before stepping down in October 2013 after the Tigers were knocked out by the Red Sox in the AL Championship Series. He’s been a special assistant with the Tigers since.
“It’s a great honor to be named Manager of Team USA,” Leyland said in a news release. “I’m looking forward to working with USA Baseball on this challenge in my career. I’m excited to get started and flattered with this opportunity.”
Leyland ranks 15th on the all-time wins list among major league managers with 1,769 wins and he led the Marlins to a World Series title in 1997 in their exciting, seven-game series win over the Indians. He led the Tigers to AL pennants in 2006 and 2012, losing to St. Louis and San Francisco, respectively, in the World Series.
The U.S. is looking for its first World Baseball Classic title after a semifinal appearance in 2009 and two second-round exits in 2006 and 2013.
Previous Team USA managers include Buck Martinez (2006), Davey Johnson (2009) and Joe Torre (2013). On Leyland’s coaching staff are Jeff Jones, Marcel Lachemann, Lloyd McClendon, Willie Randolph and Alan Trammell, with Jones and McClendon having worked under Leyland previously with the Tigers.
Colombia, Mexico and Australia have clinched places in the WBC after winning their qualifying tournaments. The next WBC qualifier will be at Brooklyn’s MCU Park from Sept. 22-25 as Pakistan, Brazil, Great Britain and Israel face off to reach the WBC next spring.
The 2017 WBC will be played in March at a yet-to-be-disclosed venue.