Terry Francona's eight-year run as manager of the Boston Red Sox ended Friday when the Major League Baseball team announced he was not returning next season.

Francona, nicknamed Tito, led the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2004 -- ending a championship drought dating back to 1918 - and again in 2007, but speculation about his future increased after the Red Sox missed this season's playoffs after a dramatic late season collapse.

We have enormous respect, admiration and appreciation for Tito and the job that he did for eight years, including two World Series Championship seasons and five playoff appearances, the Red Sox said in a statement.

His poise during the 2004 post-season was a key factor in the greatest comeback in baseball history, and his place in Red Sox history will never be forgotten. We wish him only the best going forward.