Pensacola, Florida has a new double-A baseball team, the Blue Wahoos. The new manager is a well-known figure in Major League Baseball coaching circles....and to Cubs fans.
Yes, the former Cubs manager is managing a double-A team in the middle of nowhere deep South, which is (trust me on this) a long, long way from Chicago.
I fell head-over-tea kettle in love with the Cubs in 1989. That summer I went to my first Cubs game at Wrigley and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
It was a good year to fall in love. Don Zimmer was managing the Cubs and oh, what a team it was. Mark Grace, Ryne Sandburg, Shawon Dunston, Damon Berryhill, Joe Giradi, Rick Sutcliffe, Mitch Williams, Scott Sanderson, Andre Dawson, Mitch Webster, Luis Salazar and a young pitcher who would later break my heart when he left (so what if he came back later; I've never forgiven him for leaving in the first place), Greg Maddox.
That was a year. Third base was rocky, if I recall correctly, but damn, it was a sweet team.
But I digress.
The Cubs are not kind to their managers. They turn winners into losers and optimistic beginnings into faded finishes. Since 1989, the Cubs have had 10 managers, and they've sucked the wins- and career- out of most of them. Seeing the story about Jim Riggleman made me wonder....where those managers now? On Opening Day, as the Cubs' season begins with high hopes and a new manager, it's prudent to remember what happened to his predecessors.
Don Zimmer 1988-1991
Managed for 3 1/3 years, leaving in the middle of the '91 season. 1989 NL Manager of the Year. Although he was a bench coach under Joe Torre during the Yankee's World Series years (and even managed a few games when Torre was out), he's never led a MLB team since he left the Cubs.
Jim Essian 1991
He finished out the '91 season after Zimmer left. It's the only MLB managing he ever did. According to Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt), he's managing the Greek National Baseball team.
Jim Lefebvre 1992-1993
Meh. He'd go on to manage the Brewers in '99 but that ended poorly. He would disappear overseas, too, working in a managerial role with the Chinese National Team.
Tom Trebelhorn 1994
Blink and you missed him. Trebelhorn was the guy who answered questions from the fans in front of the firehouse, remember that? He spent a couple of years with the Orioles as a bench coach, did the overseas national team bit with Italy, and now manages a minor league team.
Jim Riggleman 1995-1999
Riggleman managed the Mariners and the Nationals after leaving the Cubs, so Wrigley didn't completely suck the life out of him. As mentioned previously, he's now managing the Red's AA team in Pensacola.
Don Baylor 2000-2002
Ah, Baylor. Such high hopes, coming from the Colorado Rockies and their expansionist success. His luck came to a screeching halt in Chicago. Since the Cubs, he's been able to stay in MLB as the hitting coach for a succession of teams, but he's never managed another game.
Bruce Kimm 2002
It's only fair to mention Kimm, who finished out the 2002 season after Baylor's departure. He went to the White Sox the next year as a third base coach, retiring from baseball after that season. Bless his heart; Chicago finished him off.
Dusty Baker 2003-2006
He started off with a bang, didn't he? 2003 was a great year, but it was all downhill after that- especially for the pitchers who were injured during his tenure, but that's another post for another time. Baker landed on his feet after the Cubs, however, and is one of the few on this list to have a successful managing career post-Cubs. He's currently manager of the Cinncinnati Reds.
Lou Piniella 2007-2010
Big name manager. Big league reputation. High hopes and then.....blah. 2008 was a great year, with Piniella winning NL Manager of the Year, but then it was the long slide downward, as per usual. Piniella hasn't returned to managing after the Cubs.
Mike Quade 2010-2011
Quade? Really? I'm still grumped about this choice for manager, when there were so many other, better choices. Maybe it's best for those coulda-beens that they weren't hired, though, as we've seen what happens to Cubs managers. I think he's fishing down in Florida right now.
Dale Sveum 2012-
Good luck, buddy. You're going to need it.