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October 2011



Northside Archives: His Own Man?

Written by , Posted in General

We all know the situation, Mike Quade sits with a single year left on his contract. The man who hired him, Jim Hendry, has been gone for more than two months and in his place are Theo Epstien and Jed Hoyer. How long before Quade’s fate is determined?

Historically, when the Cubs have hired a new GM it’s time for the manager to call his favorite moving company.

Cubs’ History
Dallas Green replaced Joe Amalfitano with Lee Elia when he got to town before the 1982 season. In my opinion, Green’s hiring was the first time the Cubs took the GM position seriously (in its modern form) which is why we start here.

Jim Frey was hired as GM after the 1987 season less than two years after being replaced as field manager. Not surprisingly, he immediately brought in long-time friend Don Zimmer as his manager. Gene Michael had already resigned in mid-1987 and Frank Lucchesi had been managing the Cubs on an interim basis.

Larry Himes following the 1991 season, was forced to choose between keeping Jim Essian or hiring his own man. One of Himes’ few correct decisions was then followed by hiring Jim Lefebvre as his manager – he guided the Cubs to back-to-back 4th place finishes.

Ed Lynch replaced Tom Trebelhorn with Jim Riggleman upon being hired as GM. Trebelhorn was hired as bench coach in 1992 and promoted to manager in 1994 (sound familiar?). He managed the team for a single season as Larry Himes delayed the firing squad (sound more familiar?). Riggleman would manage until Lynch was forced to fire him following the 1999 season.

Andy MacPhail assumed the GM duties when Ed Lynch resigned on July 19, 2000. This change was bit different from most in that Don Baylor had been hired as the manager prior to the 2000 season. Because of MacPhail’s unique position with the Cubs it’s easy to anticipate that in fact he was hiring his manager before he even assumed the GM duties – and in the process giving Lynch a last gasp at keeping his job.

Jim Hendry was promoted to GM on July 5, 2002. Don Baylor was fired that same day and replaced on an interim basis by Bruce Kimm. The move to fire Baylor is often attributed to MacPhail as his final act as GM – but regardless, of who officially gave Baylor the pink slip, the fact remains that a new GM brought in his own manager (Dusty Baker) once the season was over.

Similarities to 1994
As the Epstein regime takes shape, it’s hard to ignore the similarities with front office circa 1994. Following the 1994 season the Cubs fired their GM with the team was in shambles both at the MLB level and in the minor leagues. The Cubs went and hired a GM who had spent a decade building an AL franchise into a two-time World Series Champion. But the Cubs hiring required a promotion – at which time the Cubs’ new baseball executive hired his own GM, a longtime friend. MacPhail and Epstein were also “the youngest GM in MLB history” when they were each initially hired, by the Twins and Red Sox respectively.

What Ed Lynch walked into, seems to be very similar to what Jed Hoyer will find upon arrival in Chicago. A baseball lifer who was given a single year to manage a terrible team. Lynch didn’t hesitate to rid himself of Trebelhorn – it took merely 8 days.

Hoyer’s History
However, when Hoyer was hired as GM of the Padres following the 2009 season, Bud Black was the manager of a beleaguered team that was headed nowhere. In 2010, the Padres’ success led to an extension for Black through the 2013 season with options for 2014 and 2015. Hoyer tied his immediate future to Black less than a year into his tenure.

Epstein’s History
When Epstein was hired as GM of the Red Sox following the 2002 season, he also did NOT fire Grady Little. In fact, Little had been hired prior to the 2002 season and guided the Red Sox to 93 wins. Epstein’s arrival in Boston was unique in that the Red Sox fired their GM and hired a new manager prior to a very successful season in 2002 – using an interim GM during the entire 2002 season. But when Little famously bungled the pitching staff in the 2003 playoffs, Epstein moved quickly and replaced him with Terry Francona.

Cubs’ Past & Present
Of the last six GMs the Cubs have had, five of them have immediately hired a new manager. The lone exception, Andy MacPhail, was in a unique situation where he had presided as club President when the manager had been hired merely months before he took on the GM responsibilities.

Cubs’ history points emphatically to Quade’s near certain firing; but the limited history of Epstein and Hoyer don’t necessarily indicate such a change to be immediately forthcoming.

Postscript: This article hit ESPN yesterday. Epstein’s admiration says a lot.

  • CubbieDude

    Thanks Jedi.
    I don’t know who’s going to manage the Cubs in 2012, but events concerning Cub Nation during the past week have definitely increased the “gut in my strut” and the “glide in my stride”.

  • Jedi

    I have guarded optimism right now CubbieDude…I want to believe it will all change and we will be elite – but it’s still the Cubs which means Theo COULD be Andy MacPhail Part Deux.

  • Seymour Butts

    Sounds like it sucks to be Q.

  • Salty Saltwell also cleaned house upon starting his tenure. He replaced the unpopular player-manager Dink Tinkerton with former former hot dog vendor Redd “Red Hot” Reddings.

  • Doc Raker

    Greeat history lesson Jedi. I say bring back the College of Coaches.


    I see 2012 as a sunk season. I don’t think it would be good to hire Sandberg right away, because Cubs Nation is going to tar and feather him

  • Eddie Von White

    I hate the term “Cubs Nation.” Can’t we come up with something original?

  • Doc Raker

    Scott Boras client Robinson Cano wants to renogiate his contract. Apparently the $30M he is scheduled to make in the next 2 years isn’t enough since he is now one of the best hitters in the game. Does it EVER work the other way? Does Scott Boras EVER renogiate when his client underperforms? So tired of this Boras Business.

  • Jedi

    I don’t think you’re right about that BLPCB. Cubs’ history is littered with managers who did not immediately have successful teams.

    Before Piniella and Baker, Jim Frey was the only Cubs’ manager since Frank Chance to have a team finish better than 3rd in his first season. Baker’s initial success was somewhat of a surprise, while Piniella’s success was expected after the massive cash outlay that preceded his first season.

    The “Quade hate” as some have termed it seems to have more to do with his general incompetence that’s evident on a daily basis – not with specific results on the field. The basics of managing escape him.

    I don’t think that any new Cubs’ manager in 2012 would be expected to drastically improve the win-loss record. I, for one, just want a guy who doesn’t seem like he’s in over his head (and even Quade supporters generally concede that point).

  • Doc Raker

    The Wrigleyville Population should replace Cubs Nation, or Population Wrigleyville or simply, “Wrigleyville”. As in, Wrigleyville is pleased with the Theo signing. Or, The Wrigleyville Population is excited about the Theo hire. I am with you Eddie, trash the Nation.

  • CubbieDude

    Eddie & Doc: You have my permission to never use the term “Cub Nation” again.

  • Seymour Butts

    Since we all know it takes a village, I propose “Cub Village”.
    Not really , I just know it will cause Raker to have a stroke.
    Gregging Cardinals.

  • Seymour Butts

    “The Legion of Ursa Minor”
    “the Dominion of the Little Dipper”
    That is a little obtuse as it requires that one realize Ursa Minor (the little Bear) is also known as the little dipper.
    or just
    “Cub Dominion”

  • Doc Raker

    How about Cub Commune Seymour? That would be good for you and your pinko friends but not so good for the collective whole. Wrigleyville is a meritocracy, not a marxist commune.

  • Jamie Salter

    As an outsider A possible name to use would be “CUBS CLAN”. It’s an awesome show of unity,family and tradition.As a Red Sox fan I wish Theo and The CUBS CLAN great success and hopefully meet each other in OCTOBER!!! Talk about HISTORY! That goes back to the early 1900’s when the CUBS reigned supreme. A Powerhouse along with the GIANTS and RED SOX, all that’s needed is for the CUBS to complete that picture. Good Luck to Theo and to the CUBS CLAN!!!

  • To all the “CUBS CLAN” Enjoy your winter of expectations,of the chess board moves subtle and major.The excitement of change and I mean good change is intoxicating. It will cause joyfull sleepless nights, hurried anticipations. BUT, it will also seem like the longest winter, with the day dreams of spring training just on the tip of your mind drooling for the day the TRUCK heads SOUTH! GOOD LUCK to the CUBS and all their CLAN!!!

  • Jedi

    I’m going to suggest that the Cubs Clan never wear white hats…people might start substituting Cs for Ks and then we’re in real trouble.

  • Good Point, I was merly thinking of the idea of the Native American reverance of Bears and their Clans of family and unity. The magnificent BEAR and it’s place in the circle of life, The top of the food chain,the ruler of life walking the land. That type of reverance.

  • Eddie Von White

    I like Doc’s suggestion – just plain “Wrigleyville.” That gives us our own little place in the universe.

  • Cool……..maybe even The Cubs Den

  • Doc Raker

    A collective groan from Wrigleyville on those gregging Cardinals winning. Texas should of won game 6, drats!

  • Eddie Von White

    Agreed, Doc.