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Clubhouse manager Schmakel draws Leyland's praise

DETROIT -- Jim Schmakel has spent more than three decades as the Tigers' clubhouse manager and is a legend in the organization, but rarely gets much public praise. His work to help the Tigers get out of Cleveland in a hurry after Wednesday's game moved manager Jim Leyland to point him out.

While the Tigers scrambled to get ready for the quick flight back home after finishing off Wednesday's win after midnight, Schmakel and assistants loaded up the team's equipment truck and hit the road. Instead of taking the time to put the equipment on the team plane, Schmakel drove it back to Comerica Park, arriving just after 4 a.m. ET.

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It was no big deal for Schmakel, who has done it several times before and was planning on doing it anyway before the rain delay. He'll regularly do the same when the team is in Chicago, and he says he once drove the six-hour trek back from Milwaukee on a dare.

The drive back from Cleveland, Schmakel said, didn't make much difference in his schedule.

"In my life, it cost me an hour," he said. "It was well worth it."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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