CHICAGO -- An emotional Andy MacPhail resigned Sunday as
president and CEO of the Chicago Cubs after failing to get the team
to the World Series during his 12-year tenure.
"This is the first thing I've ever done in baseball that I
didn't have a high level of success at," MacPhail said, his voice
"The clock on the MacPhail o-meter has run down to zero."
-- Andy McPhail on his resignation as Cubs president
The Cubs have made just two playoff appearances since MacPhail
joined them in 1994 after he spent nine years with the Minnesota Twins, leading them to two World Series titles. Chicago finished
its season Sunday at 66-96, the worst record in the NL.
"The clock on the MacPhail o-meter has run down to zero," said
MacPhail, who told reporters he broached the subject of resigning
during a team review with Tribune Co. executives in midseason.
"It's not just that we had a terrible season. I've been here 12
seasons and only two postseason [appearances] and to me that's not
what I came here to do. Obviously, I've not been as effective as I
wanted to be."
Marketing vice president John McDonough will take over the
club's day-to-day operation on an interim basis. MacPhail will stay
on through the transition and do his work for the major league
baseball negotiating committee.
MacPhail's grandfather and father were longtime baseball
executives, and both are in the Hall of Fame.
"I've been in the business my entire life. I was born to it,"
MacPhail said. "I've done just about everything imaginable in it
from selling program space in Midland, Texas, to scouting in the
Midwest League, to being a GM, a president, negotiating a
collective bargaining agreement.
"There is one rule that applies to everything. You've got to
win and if you don't win, it's subject to change."
Since MacPhail took over, the Cubs won the NL wild card in 1998
and the NL Central in 2003, when they fell five outs short of
making the World Series.
The Cubs, who had a payroll of approximately $95 million this
season, haven't been to the World Series since 1945. They haven't
won one since 1908.
"This is a baseball decision. It's an issue of making sure our
fans know that we are committed to winning," said Tribune Co.
chairman, president and CEO Dennis Fitzsimons, adding his company
has no plans to sell the Cubs. "Andy MacPhail has been committed
to winning. For whatever reasons, it didn't work out. ... Andy said
it best, we both felt we needed a change."
MacPhail couldn't repeat his baseball success from Minnesota
despite a bigger payroll with a big-market team whose shrine-like
home field is nearly always sold out or close to it. MacPhail was
instrumental in a bleacher expansion project for Wrigley Field that
was completed for the 2006 season.
Injuries played a big role the last several years, especially to
the pitching staff, most notably Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. And
2005 NL batting champion Derrek Lee played in only 50 games this
season after breaking his wrist and then attending to his
daughter's health issues.
"Too much payroll has been sitting on the sideline. Nobody's
fault," MacPhail said. "There has been too much of it and it
hasn't been able to be applied on the field. Nothing in the way of
excuses, just fact."
But poor play was also a part of his tenure and MacPhail
acknowledged that while the Cubs had done a good job of developing
pitchers, they hadn't done so with position players.
MacPhail also served as general manager of the Cubs from July
19, 2000, to July 4, 2002.
"What is most frustrating to me is the lack of consistency,"
His grandfather, Larry MacPhail, won an NL championship as owner
of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941 and the World Series as owner of
the New York Yankees in 1947.
Andy MacPhail is the son of longtime baseball executive Lee
MacPhail, a former president of the AL.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker's future is next. He'll meet Monday
with GM Jim Hendry.
"The hard part is that we didn't get it done on the field and
it affects everybody," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said.
McDonough said his goal is to win a World Series as soon as
"My approach is to be aggressive. I do know what I don't know.
I think I ask very good questions," he said.
And if the Cubs continue to founder, he'll be answering plenty,