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Mooney: Who is Mike Quade?

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Mooney: Who is Mike Quade?

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
7:06 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

Jim Hendry recruited the Chicago area and the Creighton University head coach had a deal with Wilson Sporting Goods. One baseball clinic took him to Prospect High School and there he noticed a photo in the trophy case.

Hendry asked himself the same question Cubs fans would pose decades later: Whos the bald dude?

That teenager frozen in the picture was a natural leader, the three-sport athlete who played quarterback, point guard and shortstop.

This was the 1980s and Hendry didnt immediately realize that he had already watched Mike Quade at the University of New Orleans. Quade was teammates with two men Hendry got to know years earlier through the Cape Cod League, and remains close to even to this day.

Paul Mainieri would encourage Jeff Samardzija to play baseball in college and help convince the Cubs to draft the football All-American before leaving Notre Dame to become the head coach at Louisiana State University.

Randy Bush would win two World Series rings with the Minnesota Twins before joining the Cubs front office and rising to assistant general manager. Bush would be influential in reaching the agreement finalized this week and hiring the 51st manager in Cubs history.

Quade isnt a legacy or a superstar, but hes well-connected and you can be certain that others were rooting hard for him to get this job, to give credibility to the work they do in the minor leagues and maybe, slightly increase the odds that someone else might get a shot like this.

Mikes a terrific baseball guy and the reason people didnt put him on a higher level publicly is because he doesnt promote himself, Hendry said. Over time, the way the games changed (with) the Internet, the blogs, word of mouth and people doing favors Mike Quade did it the old-fashioned way.

Quade will look you in the eye and tell you what he thinks and for that Miguel Tejada is grateful. When Tejada lacked concentration in 1997, Quade benched him for a few games at Double-A Huntsville, the same tactic the manager used with Starlin Castro.

This young shortstop from the Dominican Republic would grow into a six-time All-Star and the American Leagues Most Valuable Player in 2002.

Hes a gentleman, Tejada said last month. Sometimes you dont have to play in the big leagues to be a good manager (if) youre a smart person and you respect the game.

Quade embraced the challenge of taking over a Cubs team that had lost 20 of its previous 25 games and a clubhouse that one player described as dead. From Aug. 23 on, that group won 24 of the final 37.

As manager, Quade was upgraded to a hotel suite on the road, but still threw batting practice, something hed like to continue doing next season, as long as his arm holds up. That is what chairman Tom Ricketts wanted the hands-on coaching Quade once did in Scranton, Pa., and West Michigan.

Its hard enough when you got a wife and two kids in your household, Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said. Hes got 25 kids that hes got to take care of. Especially in a city where we havent won in so long, thats a lot to take on, but when it comes down to being prepared to be on the field, hes as good as anybody.

Quade gets that we have to sell newspapers and drive ratings and isnt afraid to say what everyone else already knows. Castro drifts in and out of focus. Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano are getting older in a game thats not getting any easier. You cant explain Carlos Zambrano and his moods or his performance.

Heading into Year 103, Quade is aware of the pressures and how the game has evolved since 1908. Even millionaires want to know what theyre supposed to do when they show up to the office.

Im honest, straightforward, Quade said. (You) rarely dont know what I mean. It doesnt mean you like it. It doesnt mean things always work. But at least you know where Im coming from. You can respect that.

Quade is a fisherman who thinks you should eat what you catch out of the Gulf of Mexico. Otherwise, it seems like a waste. Hes earned a good paycheck in Chicago, but still hadnt made that one huge financial score.

Moneyball was being reported while Quade was with the Oakland As. He couldnt believe it when he heard that the film adaptation of the best-selling book cast an actor with hair as the first-base coach. Alopecia areata caused this look. At the age of 53, he knows who he is.

Four years ago, the Triple-A Iowa manager interviewed for the job that went to Lou Piniella. The Cubs and Piniella were a foregone conclusion within the industry, but Hendry got the potential Hall of Fame manager to accept a new third-base coach. The reaction to the promotion was unforgettable.

God bless Mike Quade, Hendry said. I told him he was going to be on the big-league staff. He wanted to know why he wasnt considered stronger for the managers position.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Anthony Rizzo takes in Cubs intrasquad game in Wrigley Field bleachers

Anthony Rizzo takes in Cubs intrasquad game in Wrigley Field bleachers

Anthony Rizzo missed Summer Camp on Thursday as he remains day-to-day with lower back tightness. However, the Cubs first baseman still found a way to take in the action.

Rizzo posted up in the left field bleachers during Thursday's game, which pitted Yu Darvish vs. Kyle Hendricks. He later moved to sit by the on-deck circle.

With no fans in attendance this season, MLB players will likely be stationed throughout ballpark seating throughout games to social distance. The Cubs obviously want to see Rizzo stationed at first base come the regular season, but it would be quite the sight if he or any Cubs get to sit out in the bleachers this year.

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No regrets for Cubs' Javy Báez in not reaching extension deal before pandemic

No regrets for Cubs' Javy Báez in not reaching extension deal before pandemic

Cubs shortstop Javy Báez doesn’t know any more than anyone else where baseball’s economics and player salary markets are headed in the next year or two as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the two-time All-Star expressed no regret about not accepting a club offer during negotiations on a long-term extension over the winter and said he felt no “rush” to resume talks in the uncertain climate.

Báez, the 2018 MVP runner-up who is eligible for free agency after next season, had expressed optimism that talks were “progressing” in March before the pandemic shut down sports — and all extension talks.

“It’s been really difficult with all this happening right now,” said Báez, whose family all stayed healthy through baseball’s shutdown and who looks in good shape after working out during that time with brother-in-law Jose Berrios, the Twins pitcher.

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“We have really good communication and relationship between me and the owners and obviously my agent,” Báez added. “I think when this [is in the] past, I think we’re going to talk and stay in touch and see what happens from here on, and with the season.”

Teammate Kris Bryant, long considered a sure thing to test the open market after the 2021 season, said Monday the pandemic and first-time fatherhood has made him rethink things that are important to him — including, potentially, the Cubs and what it might take to stay with them.

But predicting where payroll budgets, industry revenues and consequently player markets will be even two or three years from now is all but impossible during a pandemic with no end in sight.

All of which could render many players and teams’ best intentions moot for now.

MORE: Why Cubs core's desire to sign extensions might not matter anymore

“This is without question the most difficult time we’ve ever had as far as projecting those things,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said this week.

Báez, who has a 2020 salary of $10 million (prorated for the shortened season), was the primary focus of the front office much of the winter as it tried to lock him up as a part of the next contending core it envisioned.

He said he has bigger things to worry about now as the team tries to stay disciplined and committed to pulling off a 60-game season.

“Obviously, everybody wants to get paid, but we’ve got to wait for the right time,” he said, “and both sides are going to see and know what’s right for each other. I’m not in a rush. I’m worried right now about getting back on the field and playing regular games and trying to win in this season that is going to be so weird.

“Obviously with this happening right now it’s going to change everything. It already changed 2020; it’s going to change the next two years I think.”

Báez said the decision to play was not really difficult and he didn’t consider opting out.

“I feel like everybody’s dealing with the same thing,” said Báez, who among other things keeps his free agency timeline intact by playing and being credited with a full season of service time for 2020. “Some of them have got contracts; some of them don’t.

“I’ve got one year [more] I’m going to be in arbitration. We’ll see. They know me. I’m pretty sure every team knows me and knows what I can do. I’m not in a rush. We’ll just see what happens this season and how it goes for me and with this 60 games and be ready for next season.

“We’ll see.”

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