Jim Hendry kick-started the interview process for the Cubs open manager position by speaking face-to-face with former Cleveland skipper, Eric Wedge, on Thursday.
Wouldn’t be surprised if Wedge ends up a finalist for the job. Not only did he quickly mold the the young Indians team he inherited into contenders, but also represents a much needed change from the old guard. He’s young by managing standards, 42, and far from the glits and glamor of a Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella.
Now the short version on Wedge’s qualifications:
Wedge won the 1989 College World Series as player for the Wichita State Shockers. At the same time, Cubs GM, Jim Hendry, was the head coach of league rival Creighton University.
Drafted by the Red Sox in ’89, Wedge played briefly in the majors with Boston & Colorado before eight surgries ended his playing career in 1997.
He then managed in Cleveland’s minor league system from 1998-02 winning the Carolina League Manager of the Year Award in 1999, the International League Manager of the Year Award in 2001, and The Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year Award in 2002.
The Indians promoted Wedge to the big club in 2003. He lasted seven years posting two winning seasons and a trip to the ALCS in 2007–Boston won the series in 7 games. He won more honors that season earning The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award and MLB Manager of the Year Award for the American League.
At the conclusion of the 2009 season, however, Wedge and his staff were releaved from duty after the Tribe posted a 65-win season. Wedge has since been a candidate for several MLB managing openings, his latest chance foiled in Baltimore by Buck Showalter.