SEATTLE - Mike Hargrove resigned as manager of the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, saying his "passion has begun to fade" for baseball even though his team is the hottest club in the majors.
Hargrove, who managed Sunday's game against Toronto, will be succeeded by John McLaren, his bench coach. McLaren's first game will be Monday against Kansas City.
"There are no dark, sinister reasons for this decision. This has been my decision," the 57-year-old Hargrove said about 90 minutes before his final game with Seattle.
"I've daily challenged my players to give me the best that they've got, 100 percent of what they've got that day - physically and mentally. And they've done that. Without fail, they've done that.
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"I have never had to work at getting that level myself - ever - until recently. I've found that I've had to work harder in making that same commitment to my bosses, to my players and to my coaches. And that's not right," Hargrove said, turning away and choking back tears.
Hargrove's voice often cracked. His eyes were moist and red, remnants of a meeting he called with stunned players moments earlier. He said he initially made his decision June 20, just after a six-game losing streak.
General manager Bill Bavasi said that on a scale of one to 10 on being caught off-guard, Hargrove's departure was "an 11." Hargrove agreed with Bavasi to delay leaving until the All-Star break, and Bavasi and McLaren tried to talk Hargrove into reversing his decision.
"We've won seven in a row and the feeling hasn't changed. I never thought it would end like this. And I am grateful that it has," he said, adding this is probably his last job.
"It's not a problem with players, the front office, it's not a problem with a contract," Hargrove said. "It's where I'm at in life. I'm 57 years old. I've got my health. I've got a great family. It's time."