DETROIT — Ron Gardenhire mostly maintained his jovial demeanor this season. As recently as Friday night, he was needling a reporter while discussing a strategic decision from the late innings of a game.
Less than 24 hours later, Gardenhire announced his retirement. This year was taking more of a toll on the 62-year-old Detroit Tigers manager than he had let on.
As much as he enjoyed managing, Gardenhire said, he values his health more.
“It’s been wonderful here, but I also know I have to take care of myself,” said Gardenhire, who was nearing the end of his third season with the Tigers. “When you come to the ballpark and you’re stressed out all day and your hands are shaking, that’s not fun. I’ve got grandbabies. I’ve got kids that I need to take care of and my wife.”
Gardenhire’s announcement came in an abruptly scheduled videoconference about an hour before his team’s game Saturday against Cleveland. General manager Al Avila said he made a routine visit to Gardenhire’s office Saturday, when the manager told him about the decision.
Gardenhire, who has had cancer and diabetes, recently missed a couple of games because of stomach issues.
“This is tough. It’s a tough day for…