“(Former Cubs general manager) Jim Hendry and I had a great relationship,” Dunn said. “At some point I wanted to play in Chicago before my career ended, whether it would be here (Sox) or there (Cubs). I definitely wanted to play in this city. “
Hendry considered signing Dunn as a free agent but did not think the slow-footed outfielder could play right field. At the time the Cubs had Derrek Lee at first base and Alfonso Soriano in left field. Dunn signed with the Washington Nationals and the Cubs went the way of Milton Bradley in a decision that contributed to Hendry’s firing in 2011.
“I stayed out of talks between my agent and Jim,” Dunn said. “I stayed close with Jim and everything worked out for me.”
Hendry was pushed again to sign Dunn by his players after the 2010 season, but was already in the mode of paring down his payroll when the Sox signed him to a four-year, $56-million contract in December 2010.
Playing at Wrigley as the Sox left fielder will be exciting and challenging for the 32-year-old, who has not played the outfield since 2009. “The fans are right there with you and it’s fun when they come up with original stuff,” Dunn said. “They are right on top of you but they don’t get an acknowledgment if it isn’t original or funny.”
Dunn hasn’t really had a chance to grow on Sox fans due to his awful season in 2011, however he likes what both fan bases bring to the ballpark.
“At Wrigley each game is more like an event -- not really a party, but a happening every night,” Dunn said. “People go for before and after the game as much as the game itself. Sox fans come because they really enjoy baseball.”
Dunn leads all active opposing players in home runs at Wrigley with 25.
“I always see the ball well at Wrigley,” he said.