Cubs fire Baylor, hire Kimm

Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2002

ATLANTA -- New Chicago Cubs manager Bruce Kimm didn't take long to make his presence felt, dropping leadoff hitter Corey Patterson to No. 6 in the original lineup for Saturday night's game against the Atlanta Braves.

The Cubs fired Don Baylor on Friday and brought up Kimm from Triple-A Iowa. It's his first chance at running a major league team and he immediately made a change.

''I have some reasons that I'm not going to divulge about why I put him down there,'' Kimm said of Patterson, whom he managed last year in Triple-A. ''I thought it would be better for the team if he hit down there, and I wanted to see if it would work.''

Even though Patterson was later scratched because of a sore foot, the message is clear: Kimm is in charge.

''I'm not looking back,'' Kimm said. ''The feeling I want on this ball club is it doesn't matter who I put out there, we can win the ballgame. That's the way I go about things. If it works, great. If it doesn't work, well, I tried.''

Kimm couldn't join the Cubs in time for Friday night's game, and they lost 4-3 to the Braves with bench coach Rene Lachemann running the team. The ninth loss in 11 games dropped Chicago a season-worst 16 games below .500 at 34-50.

Right fielder Sammy Sosa missed that game because of family emergency back in Chicago, and he's not expected to return until after the All-Star break.

Kimm was in his second season at Iowa, and this year's team was 44-45 before the change. In seven seasons in the minors, Kimm was 480-449. He got a World Series ring in 1997 as a coach for the Florida Marlins, and he played four years in the major leagues as a catcher, including a nine-game stint with the Cubs in 1979.

He's the 22nd Chicago manager to have also played for the team.

Kimm's most notable accomplishment as a player was catching all 29 starts for Mark ''The Bird'' Fidrych in 1976, the year the right-hander was the AL Rookie of the Year with a 19-9 record.

New Cubs general manager Jim Hendry hired Kimm in 1995 to manage Chicago's minor league team in Orlando, and their continuing relationship is a big reason Kimm got the job when Baylor was dismissed.

Although Kimm was given an ''interim'' tag, Hendry and team president Andy MacPhail said he would probably manage the team for the rest of the season, with an opportunity to get the job full time.

''It's absolutely vital that the general manager have a relationship with his field manager where they can share trust and respect,'' MacPhail said. ''Jim Hendry has to find his guy he can go to to have a heart-to-heart when things are not going well. It's got to be Jim Hendry's guy.''

And Hendry indicated it might be Kimm.

''He's been relating well with players, including at the major league level, for a long time,'' Hendry said of Kimm. ''He has a long resume, and we feel like he's ready to do the job. Only time will tell.''

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