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Cubs fire GM Jim Hendry
“Not many get to be the GM for nine without a world championship,” said Hendry, who had a year left on his contract. “So I got more than my fair chance to do that. I’m disappointed in myself that we didn’t get it done in the first five to seven years when I thought we could. I’m very thankful for the way I’ve been treated.”
Asked about Ricketts, Hendry said: “I think he understood that we probably weren’t going to be great the way things were set up. Moving forward there are a lot of huge decisions that have to be made this offseason and I think that if I was the one making them and they all didn’t work out, then the person after me would have to wear some of those for longer.”
One name that has surfaced as a potential candidate to replace Hendry is White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn. He wrote in a text message, “Like everyone else here, my focus is currently on the 2011 White Sox. Questions about my personal future can wait for another time.”
For the Cubs, not much has gone right this season for a team that hasn’t won it all since 1908.
Pitcher Ryan Dempster got in a shouting match with his manager, the disabled list has been crowded with Cubs, and Carlos Zambrano — who criticized his own closer early in the year — was banished from the team for a month after walking out of the clubhouse on a night he surrendered five home runs.
Hendry tried to bolster the lineup and drew some buzz by bringing back Wood with a one-year, $1.5 million deal to be a setup man for closer Carlos Marmol. Yet fat contracts for Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez have always had fans wanting more from their stars, and the only move the Cubs made at the trade deadline last month was dealing outfielder Kosuke Fukudome to Cleveland.
It wasn’t always this way: Hendry was behind deals in 2003 to bring Ramirez, Kenny Lofton and Randall Simon to the Cubs, pushing them into the NLCS. They came within five outs from the World Series, with Hendry and the rest of Cubs Nation foiled in part by fan Steve Bartman’s foul ball attempt in Game 6 of the NLCS against the Marlins.
The next year, Hendry landed pitcher Greg Maddux and traded for Nomar Garciaparra to set the Cubs up for another playoffs run — only to watch them blow the wildcard lead in the final week of the season.
Over the years, Hendry hired veteran managers Dusty Baker and Piniella, hoping to mold the perennial losers into regular contender, but handed out big contracts to underperformers and at one point brought in Milton Bradley (three years, $30 million) for a brief, explosive stay in Chicago.
Hendry’s clubs went 749-748 during his time as general manager. He joined the Cubs in November 1994 as the club’s director of player development and later served as scouting director before being promoted to assistant general manager.
Before that, Hendry spent three seasons with the Marlins and eight seasons as head coach of the Creighton Blue Jays, where he was named the 1991 National Coach of the Year after leading Creighton to a third-place finish in the College World Series.
“I would love to stay on in some capacity,” Bush said. “I’m very realistic. I understand that the new GM will come in and evaluate who fits where and how it all fits going forward. But this has been a great opportunity for me. I’ve learned a lot.”
Ricketts indicated he would like to retain player development executives Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilkin, but said that ultimately will be up to the new general manager.
He also said team president Crane Kenney was doing “a good job” with the business side, and that there is “a really great win-win solution out there” that will spur economic growth as the team tries to secure public funding to renovate Wrigley Field.
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
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