Former Cubs GM and team President Dallas Green was in the news just the other day.
Green had some comments for Fred Mitchell regarding the Cubs and their current fight to get the Wrigley neighborhood to cooperate with the proposed renovation deal.
"It sounds like the same issues from then," Green told Mitchell.
"The fans and the people of Wrigleyville have to understand that you have a chance to lose that ballpark if you don't give the Cubs a chance to operate in today's baseball world."
Green fought the good fight for years to bring night games to Wrigley and was instrumental in that finally happening. Some readers also brought up Green’s name in response to our new contributor Jordan Benfield’s post yesterday.
I promised to revisit a post I wrote in response to Crain’s Ed Sherman. Sherman had written about the possibility that Theo Epstein would fail just as Andy MacPhail and Green previously did. I had a huge problem with that as many of us know Green was well on his way to succeeding in rebuilding the Cubs on a short and long-term basis.
Crain's Ed Sherman writes today that Cubs fans should temper their expectations on a new GM because Dallas Green and Andy Mac Phail were also highly touted and didn't work out.
Sorry Ed, that's where I have to give you a little refresher on your Cubs history.
Dallas Green came in fresh from winning a World Series as manager of the Phillies, into an absolute hellhole of a franchise. All he did in his tenure was challenge the losing culture of Cubdom, take on the neighborhood in a fight that eventually led to lights at Wrigley Field, re-shaped the roster in short order to be a contender in less than two seasons, made a widely unpopular trade for future hall of famer Ryne Sandberg, and rebuilt a barren farm system.
Other than that, yeah he sucked.
Sherman says Green lost the momentum of the 1984 success. Ok, but that isn't the whole story. The 1985 team was de-railed by losing the entire starting rotation and then the team got old. Green however was operating on both a short term and long-term plan.
His farm director Gordon Goldsberry re-shaped the Cubs system that eventually produced Greg Maddux, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark Grace, Jamie Moyer, Joe Girardi, Dave Martinez, and Shawon Dunston. Green's biggest downfall was his huge ego and thirst for power. He clashed many times with Tribune brass and wanted the team presidency, which he eventually got. He also by all accounts had the personality of an ashtray.
Green made some mistakes.
He hired Lee Elia as his first manager. Elia was a good baseball man, but was not up to the huge task in taking on the losing culture, the media, and the fans. He turned out to be a point A guy. Then Green brought in Jim Frey who did a terrific job in leading the Cubs to a NL East title in 1984. He just couldn't bring himself to pull his tired ace Rick Sutlciffe from game 5 on an October Sunday in San Diego.
After the '85 collapse and firing Frey in 1986, Green then made his biggest mistake. He made the puzzling hire of Yankee exec Gene Michael as manager solely from looking him up in a national league baseball reference called the "Green Book".
After a terrible 1987 season, Michael stepped down and Green wanted to promote then coach John Vuckovich. The Tribsters said no, and suggested Green himself manage the club. Exit Green. He left just before all his work could have really paid off.
The Cubs then hired Jim Frey as GM who quickly got rid of Lee Smith, which then led to the trading of Palmeiro and Moyer. Frey and his farm director then went on to set the franchise back for ages with just horrid, horrid drafts. The Cubs should have been a powerhouse had Green stayed and put the right pieces around that nucleus. Maddux, Grace, Sandberg, Palmeiro, Moyer were some of the 90's best players.
Sorry Ed, but I hate revisionist history, because some of us remember what really happened.
By the way, Green currently is a Senior Advisor to the General Manager for the Phillies. How's that franchise doing? (At the time of post Phillies had been to back World Series)
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