07/05/2002 4:47 pm ET
Kimm named interim manager
Cubs manager no stranger to big leagues
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Bruce Kimm was named the interim manager of the Cubs on Friday, replacing Don Baylor, who was fired after 2 1/2 seasons.
"I'm not going to predict that we're going to win, I'm going to predict that we're going to go out and play hard," Kimm said Friday. "I like this ballclub and I like the players on this ballclub."
Kimm, 51, was in his second season as manager of the Cubs' Triple-A Iowa team. He led the Iowa Cubs to the Pacific Coast League's Central Division title last year with a 83-60 record. This year, Kimm's team was 44-45.
"We have every intention of giving Bruce the opportunity to complete the season," newly named Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Friday in Atlanta. "It's not a day-to-day thing at all."
Hendry was promoted from vice president of player personnel to the Cubs general manager, a move linked to Baylor's dismissal. Andy MacPhail, who began the year as the Cubs' GM, CEO and team president and then added additional duties as part of Major League Baseball's labor negotiations team, dropped the general manager responsibilities Friday.
Hendry bypassed former managers Rene Lachemann and Larry Rothschild, both on the current Cubs staff, and picked Kimm.
"We feel Bruce Kimm is a real good choice," Hendry said. "He's an outstanding baseball guy and has been in the game for over 30 years. He brings a lot to the table and we felt he was real deserving of the opportunity."
Making the change does not mean the Cubs are giving up on the current campaign.
"We're not looking at it that the season is over yet," Hendry said. "Obviously winning more ballgames is the reason we're here today. We haven't won enough of them. We'll see how Bruce can do and then assess the club before the [July 31 trading] deadline."
Hendry planned to meet with Kimm on Saturday prior to his first game at the helm, and then take advantage of the All-Star break to discuss plans for the second half. Lachemann, the Cubs bench coach, was the team's acting manager Friday night in Atlanta.
MacPhail was asked about potential replacements for the manager's job and he said it will be Hendry's call.
"It's absolutely vital that the general manager has a relationship with his field manager, that they share a trust and respect and respect each other because sometimes their own responsibilities clash a little bit," MacPhail said. "Jim Hendry is the general manager. Jim Hendry has got to find his guy so he can go in there and have some heart-to-heart with [him] when things get tough."
This was Kimm's seventh season as a minor league manager. He also spent 12 years as a Major League coach, and was the Marlins bullpen coach in 1997 when the team won the World Series. Current Cubs outfielder Moises Alou was on that team.
"I would have to say Jim Leyland is my biggest influence," Kimm said of the longtime Pittsburgh manager who was the Marlins' skipper in 1997. "I was very fortunate to play for him. But there's been a lot of them. You take a lot of things from managers. [Leyland] tutors all his coaches. I have to be really appreciative of everything he's done because without him I wouldn't be here."
Or without his wife, Deborah. Kimm's big league career was only four seasons, and part of the problem was an arm injury. He helped his family by working in factories, driving a bread truck and selling life insurance.
"Once I got back in the game -- my wife is the one who got me into it and it didn't take much pushing," Kimm said. "My wife backed me on everything. She's more excited that I'm getting the opportunity [to manage in the big leagues]. She's been behind me on everything. You have to have a good wife in this game."
Kimm said he can't turn the Cubs around alone, either.
"This is a 'we' thing. This isn't something I can do myself," Kimm said. "I'll rely on people in the organization that have seen a lot of things that have gone on here."
"He's really easy to get along with," Cubs center fielder Corey Patterson said Friday of Kimm. "He wants you to come to the park every day and play hard. He's pretty easy going and easy to play for."
Kimm previously managed in the Cubs farm system at Double-A Orlando during the 1995-96 seasons. Kimm was named the Southern League's Manager of the Year after the 1995 season and selected as that league's top managerial prospect by Baseball America.
Hendry called him early Friday and offered the job.
"Of course, I answered immediately yes," Kimm said.
He is not new to the Majors, having coached for Cincinnati (1984-1988), Pittsburgh (1989-1990), San Diego (1991-1992), Florida (1997-98), and Colorado (1999). He spent the 2000 season as a scout for the Rockies.
Kimm worked with Baylor for the last three seasons, giving him updates on the Triple-A players.
"I'm taking over for a real professional, a guy who always treated me great," Kimm said of Baylor. "This is part of baseball. It's a good opportunity for me. I'm looking forward to taking over this ballclub. This is a good ballclub. I like the players on the ballclub and it's a good situation and I'm very fortunate."
"I'm just going to go about my business," Kimm said. "I've been around a whole lot of good managers. It's nice to say you can do certain things, but players dictate what you're trying to do."
Kimm played professionally from 1969-80, appearing in 186 games for Detroit (1976-77), the Cubs (1979) and the White Sox (1980). He caught all of Mark "The Bird" Fidrych's starts in 1976.
Kimm was asked if he was an "old school"-type of player.
"If it's 'old school' to treat players the way you want to be treated, then I'm 'old school,'" Kimm said. "I try to treat the players exactly the way I want to be treated. The only thing I ask is to play as hard as you can and play every day to win."
Carrie Muskat covers the Cubs for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.