I apologize for some of the font issues, but copying from the print formatting causes problems...(again...just another reason to buy the real thing)
So I was driving into work today, and the Score guys were talking to former Cubs' G.M. Dallas Green(who has a new book out himself)...and there were about 3 or 4 times when I wanted to scream throuh the radio and say "Mr. Green! That's just what I wrote about in my book!"...oh well, maybe enough Cubs' fans will get to hear it from me, and maybe Mr. Green will even read it one day(unless he heard me through the radio this morning)
this is Reason 99 and it comes from the final chapter: Blunders: Historical, Philosophical and Just Plain Stupid.
Hope you enjoy, and thanks again to all those who have purchased.
GREEN GOES TOO SOON
Even in the technologically advanced world of 2013, I look forward to getting a pocket schedule for the upcoming Cubs’ season. In a world where the Cubs’ schedule can be pulled up on Cubs.com, MLB.com, or ESPN.com, there is something comforting about having that little schedule in my wallet. I will never forget the first time I saw the 1982 version of the Cubs’ pocket schedule.
I was in my freshman science class and a kid whose dad had season tickets was looking at one of the schedules. The exciting element of the 1982 schedule was the phrase, “Building a New Tradition” which was written in green just below the Cubs’ logo. Observing this schedule enhanced the feeling of anticipation that I held for the upcoming season. “Building a New Tradition” was the slogan put in place by the Cubs’ incoming Executive Vice-President and General Manager Dallas Green. (Hence the green writing on the cover.) In 1982, Dallas Green was Theo Epstein…just 39 years prior.
Green was the field manager of the 1980 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Tribune Company hired Green away in its first bold move of ownership. Green quickly exerted his influence by raiding the Phillies’ coaching staffs and scouting departments, including hiring Lee Elia as his first Cubs’ manager. Elia is famous in Cubs’ lore for his profanity-laced tirade regarding Wrigley fans after a loss. If you have never heard Elia’s rant, it does warrant a listen…just make sure there are no youngsters within a one mile radius.
The Cubs struggled in both 1982 and 1983; then Green hired Jim Frey to manage in 1984. Frey had managed the Royals against Green’s Phillies in the 1980 World Series. By the beginning of 1984, Green had placed his stamp on the Cubs’ improved line-up and he continued to make deals as the team showed signs of contention. The Chicago Cubs would finish 96-65 and come one win away from representing the National League in the 1984 World Series. Here is a look at key players from the 1984 Cubs, and what Dallas Green gave up in order to acquire them:
1984 CHICAGO CUBS Acquired for…
1984 NL MVP Ryne Sandberg Ivan DeJesus
1984 CY YOUNG Rick Sutcliffe Mel Hall & Joe Carter
LF-Gary Mathews Bill Campbell & Mike Diaz
CF-Bob Dernier Bill Campbell & Mike Diaz
RF-Keith Moreland Mike Krukow & Cash
3B-Ron Cey Dan Cataline & Vance Lovelace
SS-Larry Bowa Ivan DeJesus
SP-Steve Trout (with Warren Brusstar) Scott Fletcher, Pat Tabler, Dick
Tidrow and Randy Martz
SP-Scott Sanderson Craig Lefferts and Carmelo
SP-Dennis Eckersley Bill Buckner
In his third year with the Cubs, Green had built a contending team, had the Cubs on the threshold of history, and gave up marginal players in most cases. The trading of Joe Carter was the only loss of this group but without the addition of Sutcliffe, the 1984 Cubs probably don’t win the division.
Green may have been a victim of his own success; the Cubs weren’t supposed to win that fast. After the Cubs suffered through three straight (’85-’87) losing seasons, Dallas Green resigned his post in the fall of 1987. Green and the Tribune Company cited the proverbial “philosophical differences” to explain Green’s departure. Green’s impact on the Cubs was far from finished.
After not making the postseason for 39 years, the Cubs won a second National League Eastern Division title in 1989… just five seasons after 1984. Jim Frey was (technically) the General Manager of the 1989 team, but let’s look at how the 1989 team was built:
KEY PLAYER FOR ’89 CUBS HOW AND BY WHOM PLAYER WAS ACQUIRED
Ryne Sandberg acquired by GREEN via trade
Rick Sutcliffe acquired by GREEN via trade
Andre Dawson signed by GREEN as a free-agent
Greg Maddux drafted under GREEN’s tenure
Mark Grace drafted under GREEN’S tenure
Jerome Walton drafted under GREEN’s tenure
Dwight Smith drafted under GREEN’s tenure
Shawon Dunston drafted under GREEN’s tenure
Scott Sanderson acquired by GREEN via trade
Les Lancaster signed as amateur free agent under GREEN
Damon Berryhill drafted under GREEN’S tenure
The only significant players from the 1989 team acquired by Jim Frey were pitchers Mike Bielecki and Mitch Williams. Frey had to acquire Williams as a closer to make up for his dreadful trade of Lee Smith and the subsequent signing of Goose Gossage. The players Frey traded for Williams?…Rafael Palmeiro and Jamie Moyer…both drafted under Green.
The 1989 Cubs were still Dallas Green’s team. Anyone who says otherwise does not understand baseball…or is related to Jim Frey.
Dallas Green’s impression on the Cubs surpassed the teams he placed on the field. When Green became GM of the Cubs, he was the first in his position to openly state the Cubs needed lights at Wrigley Field. The subject of lights at Wrigley was a taboo topic that Green challenged. Green changed the debate from “lights or no lights” to “Cubs in Chicago or Cubs in the Chicago Suburbs”. Green famously said, “If there are no lights, there will be no Wrigley Field.” (Baseballlibrary.com) Green had completely altered much of the fan base’s perception, and by August of 1988, Wrigley Field held its first ever night game.
Dallas Green’s Cubs’ tenure includes another disregarded attribute. The image has persisted throughout the 1990s and 2000s that Wrigley Field is just a beer garden…where baseball happens to be played. The theory is, just open Wrigley’s doors and people will flock there no matter how bad the Cubs are. Here is an interesting fact that often goes unnoticed:
1981 ATTENDENCE AVERAGE LEAGUE RANK
Chicago Cubs 9,752 11th of 12
No, that number is not a misprint…in 1981, the year before Green’s arrival, the Cubs averaged less than 10,000 fans per game. It may have been a beer garden in 1981 at Clark and Addison…but it was an empty one.
In my humble opinion had Dallas Green stayed with the Cubs, the probability of a World Series title would have been significantly enhanced. In five years Green built two play-off teams, helped lure the Cubs and their fans out of the dark ages (awful, awful pun) and transformed Wrigley and the Cubs into the amazing, money-making machine they have been for the better part of the last three decades…long after Green’s departure.
The incredible feat that was the 1984 Cubs harmed Green in the end. Coming close to the World Series may have hastened the impatience of Green’s superiors at the Tribune Company. After the success of 1984, the Cubs were besieged by injuries in 1985 and 1986. Green deserved a better fate with the team, and the Cubs’ players, management, and ownership since do not realize the debt they owe to this man.
Reason 99 is the premature departure of Dallas Green from the front offices of the Chicago Cubs. Green’s tenure may have been short, but the imprints he made on the franchise positively altered Cubs’ history.