Cubs pick Quade as new manager

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs will keep Mike Quade as their manager, choosing to go with the man who ran the team well for the last six weeks of last season rather than a higher-profile name like Hall of Famer and franchise icon Ryne Sandberg.

Quade (pronounced KWAH-dee), the team's third base coach the past four years, was given a two-year contract Tuesday along with a club option for 2013. He served as interim manager after Lou Piniella abruptly stepped down in late August, leading the team to a 24-13 record.

"This is obviously a great day," Quade said.

The job will be his first as a major-league manager.

The hire is the first under new owner Tom Ricketts, who watched the Cubs finish out of the playoffs yet again. Chicago's infamous World Series championship drought now stands at 102 years.

"We believe that Mike can coach, manage and win for the Chicago Cubs," Ricketts said.

The Cubs finished the season at 75-87, in next-to-last place in the NL Central and a far cry from what a team with a payroll of about $145 million to start the season had expected.

Saying he needed to be with his ailing mother back in Florida, Piniella stepped down Aug. 22 after the Cubs went into a 5-20 skid that left them at 51-74. He was in the final year of his deal and had put together three straight winning seasons, but could not get the Cubs out of their funk.

There was speculation general manager Jim Hendry might hire Sandberg, the manager at Triple-A Iowa, or a former major-league manager like Eric Wedge or Bob Melvin. The Cubs were also reportedly interested in the New York Yankees' Joe Girardi.

Hendry called Sandberg was "a great candidate," but said: "At the end of the day, I felt Mike Quade was the best manager for the Chicago Cubs."

Sandberg told the Chicago Tribune he was "disappointed" and will continue to pursue other managing jobs. Asked if he would return to Iowa, he told the newspaper: "I don't know. I'm hoping there's something else out there. I'm hoping to manage or coach at the big-league level."

The 53-year-old Quade managed more than 2,300 minor league games in the Montreal, Philadelphia, Oakland and Cubs farm systems before arriving in Chicago.

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