By Joseph G. Phillips, Crusader Sports Editor
After nine seasons with the organization, Theo Epstein has stepped down as President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs.
Epstein announced he would step down from his role effective Friday, November 20, according to his bio. General Manager Jed Hoyer, Epstein’s long-time deputy, will take over the role as Cubs President of Baseball Operations.
Epstein was responsible for breaking two of the largest droughts in sports history: 1) the 86-year World Series drought of the Boston Red Sox back in 2004, and 2) the 108-year World Series drought of the Chicago Cubs back in 2016.
According to his bio, Epstein resigned from his job in Boston to become President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs on October 21, 2011. The team was coming off a fifth-place finish in the National League Central and had a depleted farm system at the time. The Cubs finished in last place in the National League Central for the first three years of Epstein’s presidency, as the focus was to acquire young talent, rather than maximize short-term competitiveness.
After a three-year, top-to-bottom rebuild, the Cubs clinched a playoff berth in 2015; their first since 2008. They advanced to the National League Championship Series, where they were swept by the New York Mets. Epstein re-signed with the club on September 28, 2016, with a five-year contract estimated to be worth up to $25 million.
The Cubs finished the 2016 season with a 103–58 record, the best in MLB and their best since the 1910 season. In the playoffs, they defeated the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. The Cubs proceeded to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, winning their first pennant since the 1945 season, breaking the so-called “Curse of the Billy Goat,” sending them to the World Series. The Cubs then won their first World Series championship since 1908 when they defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games.
Epstein will truly be missed by all Chicago baseball fans.
Joseph G. Phillips is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 15 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q & A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.