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|Ned Colletti stands in the dugout as the Dodgers prepare for an NLCS game against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 14, 2009.|
“"It was in Franklin Park,'' Ned Jr. said. "It was literally in the shadows of O'Hare, so close that we could see silhouettes of passengers and the house would shake every time a plane would land. A thousand feet to the south was the freight-train yard. The house was four rooms plus a bathroom. It cost $8,500, and I don't think he ever paid it off. There was no garage. He had to wake up twice a night in the winter to start the car and let it run for 10 minutes, because if it didn't start, he couldn't go to work, and if you didn't go to work you didn't eat. It was the smallest house on the block and the only house on the block without a garage.'' But it was their house, and it was the house Ned Jr. and his younger brother, Doug, remember as the place they grew up. Today, Ned Jr. recalls a mostly happy home and a fairly carefree childhood and adolescence. "My mom stayed at home and took care of the kids, kept the house tidy,'' he said. "That was the old-world way. My mom never drove, never had a driver's license. My dad owned four cars in the 35 years he drove. ... We had one car where one of the backseat floor panels was rusted out, and as we were driving, you could see the road going by underneath. "But we didn't know we were on the verge of missing anything. We didn't miss any meals, and we always had a place to sleep.'' Ned Sr. was always one of the first guys to help out if someone needed it. "My dad used to tell me, 'You will get far more out of life by giving to people and helping people than you ever will by getting from people,'" Ned Jr. said.
The house was four rooms plus a bathroom. It cost $8,500, and I don't think he ever paid it off. There was no garage. He had to wake up twice a night in the winter to start the car and let it run for 10 minutes, because if it didn't start, he couldn't go to work, and if you didn't go to work you didn't eat. It was the smallest house on the block and the only house on the block without a garage.” -- Ned Colletti, on his father and growing up in Chicago
|Ned Colletti is introduced as the general manager of the Dodgers as owner Frank McCourt watches at Dodger Stadium on Nov. 16, 2005.|
“By the fall of 1980, he had landed a job covering the Philadelphia Flyers for the old Philadelphia Journal. He replaced a beat writer named Bob Ibach, who later would become a valuable contact. Ned Jr. was all about the NHL, which was a close second to big-league baseball on his list of passions. And then came a phone call that would change everything. "I had been in Philly for a week when my mom called and said my dad had developed pneumonia,'' Colletti said. "It turned out to be a tumor on his lung. He was 49. I flew back to Chicago, and they took out my dad's lung. He had been a smoker, but he had stopped in 1975. They told him he had a 10 percent chance to live five years.'' Adding to the strain, the Philadelphia Journal suddenly closed its doors later that year, leaving Ned Jr. jobless. But the fall of 1981 offered promise, when Ibach, the Flyers' beat writer whom Colletti had replaced, was hired as the chief publicist of the Chicago Cubs. He offered Colletti a job as his assistant. It carried a salary of $14,000 a year, far less than the $19,000 he had been making at the Journal. "I was offered that job, but my dad said, 'You can't afford to do that.' So I initially turned it down," Colletti said. "A couple of weeks later, he called and said, 'If you can still take that job with the Cubs, you should probably come home and help your mom.' My brother was a junior in college, and that would allow him to stay there.'' In January 1982, Colletti went to work for the team he had grown up rooting for. In between, he would drive his mother to the hospital to be with Ned Sr. "She didn't drive,'' Ned Jr. said. "It was 15 miles to the hospital. I would take her there at 6 in the morning, then go to work, then go back to the hospital until midnight, and I would do that every night.'' On April 27, 1982, Ned Sr. died.
I had been in Philly for a week when my mom called and said my dad had developed pneumonia. It turned out to be a tumor on his lung. He was 49.” -- Ned Colletti
|Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta was fired a couple of days after the World Series, paving the way for Colletti.|
|Kim Ng, in her ninth season in the Dodgers' organization, has worked under three GMs.|
|Although the Dodgers were swept out of the first round by the New York Mets in 2006, there was a sense that the franchise had been turned around behind Colletti.|
|"Juan Pierre played exactly as we thought he would play," Colletti said of the outfielder to whom the Dodgers gave a $44-million, five-year contract.|
|Andruw Jones is now with the Chicago White Sox, but the Dodgers still owe him about $18 million.|