In the interest of getting a fresh start, recently-hired Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein fired manager Mike Quade on Wednesday.
The man who put Quade in charge of the Cubs' clubhouse -- former general manager Jim Hendry -- said Saturday that he understands the move.
Quade's hiring as skipper in October of 2010 -- he had been working as interim manager after Lou Piniella's retirement that August -- was one of Hendry's last major decisions as the head of the Cubs' front office. In August, his 17-year run with the organization ended when team chairman Tom Ricketts dismissed him as GM.
"I've been lucky enough to be here 17 years," Hendry said. "We had a lot of things change the last four or five years with the ownership sale and the Tribune going in a different direction. I got to work for and with some great people. When you get to have the jobs I had -- I ran the draft for five years, the minor leagues for three, Andy MacPhail's assistant for a couple to get me ready for the job and then nine years as GM -- I have nothing but great things to look back upon my experience here. Regrettably, we didn't finish it off the two or three times we had a chance to do it and didn't finish it off, which will obviously leave a little bit of a tough thing in your soul that you didn't get to do it.
"Like Theo talked about in his press conference and Andy MacPhail used to tell me, there's a (shelf-life) for these jobs and sometimes you can stay too long and it doesn't end the way you want it to. I was treated terrifically there. I'm so happy that it's somebody coming after me that I have such a great deal of respect for and is a good friend. I know people don't want to believe that, but it's true."
Hendry and Epstein have been longtime friends. Their working relationship has been a productive: The two worked together on the trade that brought longtime Red Sox favorite Nomar Garciaparra to Chicago in 2004.
"Theo and I are good friends," Hendry said. "Met years ago when I was Andy MacPhail's assistant and Theo was just getting started. When I became the GM I spent a lot of time with Theo when he first got the job and have been good friends since. ... I'm happy for the Cubs. I left on very, very good terms. Seventeen years at a great place. Tom Ricketts and his family are terrific. They hit a grand slam with Theo. Theo's very, very good and will do the job terrifically. [He] hired a bunch of great guys ... and is astute enough to know there's a lot of great people that were left behind when I left."