January 26, 2017 – As World Series-winning manager Jim Leyland prepares to return to the dugout to manage Team USA at the 2017 World Baseball Classic in March, MLB Network looks back at his storied career with Jim Leyland: A Life In Baseball, a new episode of MLB Network Presents premiering Tuesday, January 31 at 9:00 p.m. ET. In an interview filmed this month at Leyland’s home in Pittsburgh, MLB Network’s Bob Costas talks with Leyland about his more than five decades in baseball and his trademark hard-nosed managerial style, which led to 1,769 career wins and endeared him to every player he managed. A clip from Jim Leyland: A Life in Baseball can be viewed here.
Featured in the show is a rare national interview with seven-time NL MVP Barry Bonds, who played under Leyland for seven seasons in Pittsburgh, speaking at length about his relationship with his former manager, including their tough-love relationship that came to a head in an argument during Spring Training in 1991. Former players Bobby Bonilla, Sean Casey, Gary Sheffield and Andy Van Slyke are also featured in the show, describing how Leyland commanded respect from his players throughout his nearly 30 years of coaching and managing in Major League Baseball with the Pirates, Marlins, Rockies and Tigers.
Dave Dombrowski, Leyland’s former general manager in both Florida and Detroit, and former coaches Rich Donnelly and Gene Lamont discuss how Leyland took struggling franchises in Pittsburgh, Florida and Detroit and helped change the culture inside the clubhouse and the product on the field, while Leyland talks about his frustration seeing players leave Pittsburgh and Florida following successful trips to the Postseason. Going back to Leyland’s roots as a member of the Chicago White Sox coaching staff in the 1980’s, former White Sox manager and Hall of Famer Tony La Russa comments on Leyland’s profound impact on players, from the star player to the 25th man on the roster. Rarely seen footage of Leyland on-and-off the field, and archive footage from signature games in his career is featured in the show, including Game Seven of the 1997 World Series, Game Seven of the 1992 NLCS and Game Two of the 2013 ALCS.
Launched in January 2015, MLB Network Presents has produced programs covering many subjects across baseball, including the Emmy-nominated The Story of Billy Bean as well as Holy Cow! The Story of Harry Caray, .406, 56: The Streak, The Bird, The Colorful Montreal Expos and The Nasty Boys: The 1990 Cincinnati Reds.