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Tigers Fire Manager Luis Pujols

September 30, 2002

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DETROIT (AP) _ Manager Luis Pujols was fired Monday by the Detroit Tigers after their worst season in six years.

Pujols, who replaced Phil Garner in April after an 0-6 start, led the Tigers to a 55-106 finish. His winning percentage of .355 is the worst for a manager in club history.

The Tigers lost to the Blue Jays 1-0 Sunday, ending their worst season since they went 53-106 in 1996. Detroit had the worst record in the major leagues after the All-Star break (24-51).

Team president Dave Dombrowski orchestrated an early season shakeup in hopes of reviving a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 1993. But Pujols failed to provide a spark on the field or in the clubhouse and couldn’t stop the losing.

``I don’t think anybody was surprised″ by the team’s poor play, Dombrowski said. ``I’m not going to place the blame on anybody.″

Pujols, a Dominican, was the Tigers’ first minority manager. He was the team’s fourth manager since Sparky Anderson’s 17-season tenure ended in 1995.

Pujols managed the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate in Erie, Pa., last season, his first in the organization. He was a major league catcher with three teams from 1977-85.

When Garner was fired after six games, it tied the quickest firing of a manager at the start of a season since 1900. Baltimore fired Cal Ripken Sr. in 1988 after the Orioles lost six games en route to an 0-21 start.

``Luis did a very professional job with his staff members, worked extremely hard, and they walked into a very difficult situation,″ Dombrowski said.

There has been speculation that former Tigers star Alan Trammell is a candidate to become Detroit’s manager. He’s the first-base coach for the San Diego Padres.

``To be honest with you, if they call, I will talk to them. And if that happens, then we’ll have to wait and see,″ Trammell said Sunday. ``It’s a situation where I’ve been out here for three years now with the Padres, I’m from here and I’m very happy here. But again, if anybody was to call _ not just the Tigers _ I think at this point in my career, I would sit down with somebody.″

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