Jim Hendry praises Theo Epstein hiring

Former Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said chairman Tom Ricketts hit a "home run" in hiring Theo Epstein.

Ricketts fired Hendry on July 22, but Hendry remained with the team through the June amateur draft and July trade deadline. Epstein was hired as president of baseball operations on Oct. 21, and he introduced Jed Hoyer as GM and Jason McLeod as vice president of scouting and player development on Tuesday.

"Tom Ricketts did the city of Chicago and the Cubs organization a great service by hiring Theo," Hendry told ESPNChicago.com. "He's a great baseball man and a great person.

"Besides bringing in his good people, he's also inheriting terrific people who are working for the team. Tom and his family certainly hit a home run in their choice. If you had to choose someone to replace you, Theo would be at the top of the list."

Hendry said Epstein was one of the first to call him after he was fired.

In the ensuing two months, Hendry said he's been concentrating on important personal issues during his free time.

"I feel wonderful," Hendry said. "I've cleared my head and paid attention to my family and friends, as well as my health.

"I've been able to enjoy all the things I haven't had time for the last 17 years."

As far as his future, Hendry said he had meetings with Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf and talked to other people in baseball.

"Both Bud and Jerry have always been good friends to me," Hendry said. "Andy MacPhail helped me to get to know them both, and we know how well respected Andy is. Their message to me was pretty similar, basically take some time off, relax and when you're ready to get back in, you'll get back in. Both said to me that I belonged in the game and that was very flattering.

"I don't have a blueprint for what I'd like to do. I've had a lot of calls from friends in the game, who graciously said, 'When you're ready to work, let me know.' "

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.