CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs removed the interim tag from Mike Quade and named him the manager with a two-year deal and a club option for 2013, the team announced Tuesday.
"This is obviously a great day," Quade said.
The job will be his first as a major league manager.
Quade, 53, took over for the retired Lou Piniella on Aug. 23 and guided the Cubs to a 24-13 record down the stretch. That was the second-best mark in baseball over that period. Quade's contract is expected to be worth between $1.8 million and $2 million, according to a major league source.
"It's awesome, they couldn't have made a better hire," Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "He's a great pick to manage this team.
"He did a great job when he was given the opportunity. It's a great move for the organization and for us as a team. I'm extremely thrilled that he got the opportunity here, because if it wasn't going to be here, it was going to be somewhere else."
The longtime minor league manager was considered a finalist for the job with Triple-A Iowa manager and Cubs Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg.
"From my standpoint, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed," Sandberg said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show." "It's a disappointing day for sure."
Sandberg said he's uncertain about his future with the Cubs on any level.
"I think now it's digesting everything and kind of change the wheels and turn in a different direction," he said. "I was focused on something, and it's just taking it all in.
"I spent the four years in the minor leagues to manage at the major league level, and that's where my heart is and that's what my next step is. That's where I look next. So I'll take it a step at a time and see if there's another opportunity out there and go from there. I wish Mike Quade the best; I wish the Cubs the best and the Ricketts family."
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry called Sandberg "a great candidate," but said: "At the end of the day, I felt Mike Quade was the best manager for the Chicago Cubs."
Dempster wonders if fans' possible disappointment that Sandberg didn't get the job has to do with his legacy as a player.
"I know that Ryno has done a really good job in the minor leagues so far," Dempster said. "He's only got a few years managing down there, and he's done really well. I'm sure the more experience he gets, the better he's going to be. He was a tremendous player and is a tremendous person, and that experience is only going to make him better.
"I know people would love to see [Sandberg] back in a Cubs uniform and at Wrigley Field every day, and maybe that's as much the infatuation as it is with who's going to make the best manager. And I'm not saying Ryno won't be a great manager, I just know Mike is a tremendous one and we're lucky to have him."
Quade has been in the Cubs' organization for nine seasons. He was Piniella's third-base coach for nearly four years beginning in 2007, and he managed the Iowa Cubs from 2003 to 2006.
"We believe that Mike can coach, manage and win for the Chicago Cubs," new Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said.
Quade earned the respect of players and management not only with his on-field success, but with his discipline of veterans and rookies alike.
"I don't think the size of somebody's contract or the size of somebody's ego or whether they're a rookie or have 15 years in the league is going to change the way he approaches somebody or talks to somebody," Dempster said. "He has a lot of great qualities."
The Cubs finished the season at 75-87, in next-to-last place in the NL Central and a far cry from what a team with a payroll of about $145 million to start the season had expected.
"The way we played those last six weeks, why not?" Quade said. "I believe that from day one -- why not us? There are plenty of examples of teams that had rough years, finished strong -- San Diego -- and then built on it the next year."
Saying he needed to be with his ailing mother back in Florida, Piniella stepped down Aug. 22 after the Cubs went into a 5-20 skid that left them at 51-74. He was in the final year of his deal and had put together three straight winning seasons, but could not get the Cubs out of their funk.
Besides Sandberg, there was speculation the Cubs might hire a former major league manager like Eric Wedge or Bob Melvin, or current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi.
Girardi went to Northwestern University in Chicago and came up with the Cubs. Many thought the team was waiting until the Yankees were out of the postseason to make a run at the former catcher. Girardi himself said he's not disappointed.
"I wasn't talking about it anyway so I had not really been asked since our time in Chicago," Girardi said. "I had the one day I said I would talk about it. As I've said all along, I 'm focused on what we are trying to do here. I'm not worried about next year. I'm not worried about the year after. I'm worried about right now."
However, Girardi acknowledged that he and his agent, Steve Mandell, had at least a preliminary conversation about the possibility of an offer from the Cubs. "My agent and I talked about it," Girardi said before Tuesday's Game 4 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium. "And I told him, 'I'm just gonna worry about [managing the Yankees] now.'"
"Joe has a great job, as high a profile as there is," Hendry said. "At the end of the day, Mike Quade is our man. That's what we wanted to do."
The 53-year-old Quade managed more than 2,300 minor league games in the Montreal, Philadelphia, Oakland and Cubs farm systems before arriving in Chicago.
The Chicago-area native was originally selected by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 1979 draft out of the University of New Orleans and spent four seasons as an outfielder in Pittsburgh's minor league system before entering the coaching ranks.
He held his first managerial position in 1985, with Class A Macon. He was promoted to Piniella's staff after a running the Iowa Cubs from 2003 to 2006, a stint that included two first-place finishes in his four seasons.
"'85, wow. Macon, Ga. -- that's a long way back," Quade said. "I'd loved the game and wanted to manage at this level, yeah. But when you get done playing and you're young and you're fired up and you're going, 'OK, three years, four years. I'll start moving up the ladder. I'll be there.' And then, five years go by. You're still staying after it. You love what you do. You're teaching, working and then 10 years go by. You change your goals. All of a sudden, you're going, 'Wow, this is a tough gig,' but all the while getting to do what I love to do. ... If it ever get to a point where I said, 'Gosh, am I going to get it?' I probably would have walked away."
He finally got his chance to manage a big league team when Piniella stepped down about a month after he announced his intention to retire at the end of the season. The Cubs went with Quade over Sandberg and bench coach Alan Trammell, and the audition was a success.
Players responded to Quade, and over the final 37 games, only the Philadelphia Phillies posted a better record.
The Cubs got a lift from promising rookies such as shortstop Starlin Castro, who hit .300, and outfielder Tyler Colvin. He hit 20 homers before he got struck in the chest by a broken bat in late September, ending his season.
"I had complete faith in the veterans, and they played like a son of a gun," Quade said. "We weren't going to win as many games in my time and we weren't going to play as well unless the kids got better."
Information from ESPNChicago.com baseball reporter Bruce Levine, ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews, and The Associated Press contributed to this story.