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Baylor dismissed as Cubs manager
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07/05/2002 6:34 pm ET 
Baylor dismissed as Cubs manager
Bruce Kimm named interim manager, Hendry as GM
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com

The Cubs were 34-49 this season under Baylor. (Charles Bennett/AP)
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs simply didn't win enough games for embattled manager Don Baylor, who was dismissed Friday after 2 1/2 seasons.

Andy MacPhail, who had three titles as Cubs president, CEO and general manager at the start of the season, announced the change Friday in what he called his "final act" as general manager. He then removed himself as GM, a job he added in July 2000, and named Jim Hendry, vice president of player personnel, to that role.

Hendry promoted Triple-A Iowa manager Bruce Kimm to interim manager for the remainder of the season. Kimm was expected to join the team in Atlanta Saturday.

"We'll give Bruce the opportunity to manage the ballclub and evaluate the club under his leadership," Hendry said.

 BAYLOR BITS
  • Named the 46th manager in Cubs history Nov. 1, 1999 and was signed to a four-year contract through the 2003 season.

  • Compiled a 34-49 record in 2002

  • Owns a 627-689 managerial record, including a 187-220 mark with the Cubs.

  • Received a trio of second-place votes and four third-place votes in the 2001 BBWAA Manager of the Year balloting.

  • Earned National League Manager of the Year honors in 1995 while with the Rockies from both the BBWAA and The Sporting News.

  • Served as Atlanta's hitting coach in 1999 after he was dismissed by the Rockies.

  • Joined the Brewers in 1989 as a special assistant to the general manager. After one season in that job, spent two years as the Brewers' hitting coach.

  • Was St. Louis' hitting coach in 1992 before beginning his managerial career with Colorado.
     
  • Baylor, 53, had a year and a half left on his contract with the team, which he took over in 2000. The Cubs, who have not had back-to-back winning seasons since 1971-72, were 34-49 this year and on pace to lose 96 games. They were 187-220 overall during Baylor's tenure, including an 88-74 record and third place finish last year.

    "Every year I've been with Don, every year has gotten better," Cubs catcher Joe Girardi said earlier this week. "This is the first time I've seen a club under Don take a step backwards. It's unusual for me. And he's very frustrated."

    Where did Baylor fail?

    "He didn't win enough games," MacPhail said. "Is that his fault or is there one element of his job that he did not do well? That's the type of stuff for endless speculation.

    "The expectations for this club coming into the 2002 season after being the most improved in 2001, everyone's expectations was ranging somewhere between first and third (in the Central Division)," MacPhail said. "And when you find yourself in fifth at the halfway mark of the season, that's when managers become vulnerable."

    The number of wins didn't match up with the talent on the field, MacPhail said. It's not just Baylor's fault, either.

    "We all failed -- the front office, the coaching staff and certainly the players, as well," MacPhail said. "We all share a bit of the responsibility."

     Cubs managers, last 10 years
    Jim Lefebvre
    1992 (78-84)
    1993 (84-78)

    Tom Trebelhorn
    1994 (49-64)

    Jim Riggleman
    1995 (73-71)
    1996 (76-86)
    1997 (68-94)
    1998 (90-73)
    1999 (67-95)

    Don Baylor
    2000 (65-97)
    2001 (88-74)
    2002 (34-49)
    All-Star Sammy Sosa does lead the Major Leagues with 28 home runs but his RBI totals are off because of the lack of baserunners ahead of him. Moises Alou, a free agent signed this year, has been sidelined with a variety of injuries, and Todd Hundley has continued to struggle. And they're not alone.

    "I tried to take a global view and look at the big picture," MacPhail said. "The spectrum of things we ask (managers) to be good at today is humongous. In the end, you have to evaluate the results."

    The Cubs were batting .242 overall and just .236 with runners in scoring position -- compared to Atlanta, which was hitting .271 in such situations -- and a feeble .191 with runners on and two out.

    The lack of hitting -- the team has ranked last in the Majors in batting average most of the year -- was especially frustrating for Baylor, a former hitting coach.

    "I think this group has not played together as a unit," Baylor said in an interview with MLB.com earlier this week. "I imagine that comes with our performance, too. Believe me, I would love to put out the same lineup every day. That would be fine with me.

    "But this inconsistency of hitting, I'm having a hard time with it. To hit .230 when they say pitching is as bad as it is, that's what I'm baffled by. If you're hitting .250, .260 as a team, you have a lot more wins. That's what I'm troubled by."

    MacPhail, who has been commuting to New York since joining the labor negotiating team in June, said he decided to make the change when he called Delta Airlines Thursday night and booked a flight to Atlanta. Baylor is the first manager MacPhail has fired.

    "I've got the world of respect for Don Baylor," MacPhail said. "He's first class, first cabin. He was disappointed. I think where most of that disappointment lay was in the won-loss record of the team. I, personally, was grateful as hell with how gracious he handled it, and how easy he made it on us. He understood it was something we did not enjoy doing."

    The Cubs play 63 day games at home and, unfortunately for Baylor, could not adjust to the early starting times. Chicago was hitting .232 in day games and had a 4.92 ERA, going 14-29. In night games, the Cubs were batting .250 with a 3.75 ERA and 20-20 record.

    "It's unfortunate," Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood said earlier this week in Miami when rumors began swirling about Baylor's shaky job status. "We're not playing bad because of the manager."

    Besides the inconsistent offense and the many injuries -- including Alou, Hundley, Alex Gonzalez, Flash Gordon and Kyle Farnsworth -- Baylor also has struggled with players who are not as motivated as he was when he played.

    Some players balked at making adjustments, such as Corey Patterson, who has not shown much patience as the Cubs leadoff hitter. Patterson drew 10 walks in April but three in May and June, and his average dipped each month. It frustrated Baylor.

    "For me to sit and take pitches, I'm not going to do that," Patterson said Friday. "Hitting 0-2 and 1-2 (in the count) at times is not a way to make a living. That's not how I'll get on base."

    Baylor was named the 46th manager in Cubs history on Nov. 1, 1999. He is the sixth manager to be fired this season, joining Detroit's Phil Garner, Kansas City's Tony Muser, Colorado's Buddy Bell, Milwaukee's Davey Lopes and Toronto's Buck Martinez. And that's not counting Joe Kerrigan, who was fired as Boston's manager in Spring Training, and replaced by Grady Little.

    Kimm, who turned 51 on June 29, was in his second season as Iowa's manager and his seventh as a minor-league manager. He led Iowa to a 44-45 mark this year and his career minor-league managerial record now is 480-449. The former big league catcher has 12 years as a Major League coach on his resume. He was part of the World Series champion Florida Marlins coaching staff in 1997.

    "The advantage to doing it today, once I made up my mind, is that it gives the new manager a chance to get together with Jim (Hendry)," MacPhail said, hoping they would take advantage of the All-Star break. "Then they can hit the ground running."

    Carrie Muskat covers the Cubs for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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