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Jim Leyland says if it wasn’t for baseball, he might have pursued a singing career

Of all the qualities that come to mind when you think about Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland — the cantankerous, old school, no-nonsense, heater-smoking baseball lifer– possessing a quality singing voice and a lifelong love of music are most certainly not among them. But according to the man himself, had he not become involved in the great game of baseball, he might have fancied forging a career path that revolved around one of his other favorite pastimes: singing.

That’s right, in an alternate reality where baseball didn’t draw him in, Jim Leyland would have tried to form a band. Yep, that Jim Leyland.

During an interview with Bob Costas recorded recently that will air on an upcoming episode of MLB Network’s Studio 42 with Bob Costas, Leyland credits his family’s love of music as one of the primary influences upon his life, so much so that pursuing a career in the music business would have been an attractive endeavor at one point in his life.

“I still like to sing,” Leyland said. “I’m not as good as I was at one time. I was OK at one time. … I can’t quite hit the high ones like I used to, but I was OK. I sang weddings, and I was in a choir and different things like that, and I loved it. But this worked out a little better, I think.”

The thought of Leyland crooning a melodic tune plays against any preconceived notion of what he’s like off so much it’s difficult to wrap your mind around it. But at the same time, with that gravelly voice of his, it is possible that his singing style might evoke comparisons to Joe Cocker or Rod Stewart…even a Tom Waits. Now that’s an interesting thought.

But if Leyland had up and decided to throw it all away, quit baseball at a much earlier age and pursued a career in music, what kind of genre would he have fit into?

“I love soft rock. I’m not into the rap too much, obviously. I’m a little old for that.”

Ha. Yeah, soft rock. I can see that. And to think, had he become a musician, we might be listening to Leyland & Crofts on the classics station or listening to Leyland croon “How Much I Feel” as the lead singer of Ambrosia. Maybe Leyland would have taken the role of Daryl Dragon in Captain and Tennille. Although I can’t see Leyland wearing that ridiculous hat. Still, the possibilities are endless.

[Detroit Free Press]

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