Updated Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
(CBS) The Cubs announced the dismissal of General Manager Jim Hendry Friday and named Assistant General Manager Randy Bush Interim General Manager.
Hendry revealed that he had actually been fired July 22 by Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts in what was “maybe one of the best kept secrets in Cubs history.” In a very classy move, he stayed on to get the Cubs through the July 31st trade deadline and to finish up the signing of draft picks, which had to be done by August 15.
“Tom Ricketts told me July 22 in my office on Friday before the Astros game,” Hendry said. “And he’s a very honest guy, a very classy guy. At that time, we decided that it was best for me to stay on. We had a (trade) deadline coming on (and) we had a lot of draft choices that needed to be signed. I think we both felt that possibly me staying through, that gave us the best chance to sign the rest of the players.”
Fighting back tears, Hendry expressed a lot of gratitude towards the Cubs organization and said he will continue to have a good relationship with Ricketts.
“I’m not going to leave here with any problems,” Hendry said. “Tom Ricketts is a good man. We just didn’t win enough ball games.”
Hendry had been the Cubs’ general manager since 2002 and oversaw division titles in 2003, 2007 and 2008. He is the only general manager in franchise history to oversee three post-season berths. But the results have soured over the last three years and the Cubs finished 75-87 in 2010 despite a large payroll. The criticism has only grown this season as the Cubs have stumbled to a 54-70 record.
“We just didn’t win enough games,” Ricketts said. “Team performance over the last two years is not where it needs to be … Our goal is to win the World Series, and do that we need to get better.”
Hendry accepted blame and admitted that his 749-748 overall record wasn’t good enough.
“Not many get to be GM for nine (years) without a world championship,” Hendry said. “So I got more than my fair chance to do that. I’m disappointed in myself that we couldn’t do it in the first five to seven years like I thought we could.”
Hendry admitted he was probably too aggressive in his pursuit of a World Series title a few years ago and said it cost him in the long run.
“It’s obviously a sad day for me,” Cubs reliever Kerry Wood said. “Going on 17 years of knowing Jim. But he’ll land on his feet.”
Wood said the players were informed in a meeting Friday morning and “it caught us all off-guard.”
Hendry has no intentions of leaving baseball.
“I probably just need a couple months away from it, I certainly not too old,” he said. “I’m not going to retire. I’ll probably just gather myself and see what happens.”
WATCH HENDRY’S FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:
WATCH KERRY WOOD’S FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW: