While many Chicago Cubs fans were upset with Jim Hendry’s choice to hire Mike Quade over Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg, the decision was not without its merits.
After a dismal showing under Lou Piniella, Quade took over in 2010 and led the wildly underachieving Cubs to a 24-13 record. Quade squeezed out as much talent as he could during his time as interim manager, and Jim Hendry decided to reward Quade by removing the interim tag.
Many believed Sandberg, who absolutely tore it up as a coach in the minors with the Cubs, was waiting in the wings until the next managerial opening on the North Side but was not offered the job. Sandberg angrily left the Cubs organization and jumped ship to the Phillies organization.
Quade’s contract was a relatively cheap two-year deal. After a poor season in which the Cubs play their last game tonight with a 71-90 record, Quade seems to be about the only person who believes he will be back in Chicago next season.
While his belief in himself and his enthusiasm for the job make you want to believe in Quade, there is a good chance that the next GM of the Cubs will want a fresh start across the board. Enter Sandberg. After saying things about the organization in the heat of Quade’s hiring, Sandberg has since backed off his statements and said that he would be “open to a return to Chicago now that Jim Hendry is gone.”
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro believes Sandberg deserves a chance anywhere in the big leagues as Sandberg led the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley to their first playoff appearence in the International League.
“I thought he was fantastic,’’ Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told mlb.com. “He should get an opportunity to be in the big leagues as a coach or manager. I’m certain he has the ability to do that. For his sake, I hope people come calling for him. For our sake, I hope they don’t, because we’d love to have him in our organization.’’
While it is never good to lose a baseball mind like Mike Quade, imagine number 23 in the Cubs dugout, returning to Chicago on opening day, Ryno flag blowing in the wind, to a hero’s welcome. We have no clue who the next Cubs GM will be, but one thing is for sure: those would be the kind of theatrics you would want to successfully start your career as the person operating one of the most historic franchises in sports. Oh, and it wouldn’t be a bad way to win back the hearts of the fans either.