After five years of leading the Chicago Cubs and bringing a title to the Friendly Confines, it’s the end of the road for quixotic skipper Joe Maddon.
On an unbelievably beautiful day in Chicago on November 4, 2016, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon stood at a podium in front of millions of people in Grant Park. The smiling Maddon approached the microphone holding the World Series trophy, which gleamed in the bright Chicago sun. What did say?
"“Welcome to Cubsstock 2016!” – Joe Maddon"
Maddon had solidified his legacy as the best manager the Cubs have had in the modern era just a few days before when his team won the World Series. Over those next few days he was on top of the world. He had accomplished the mission he set out on when the Cubs hired him on October 31, 2014.
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Now we say goodbye. Maddon and the Cubs are parting ways as his contract will not be renewed after it expires at season’s end. It is unfortunate that he does not have a chance to end his tenure with a second ring, but the accomplishments he did have as manager in Chicago will be remembered for a very long time.
Joe Maddon’s tenure in Chicago.
No doubt Maddon’s biggest accomplishment in his five years as Cubs skipper was the 2016 World Series. He also helped get his team to the NLCS three times and the playoffs four times. The season finale will be his 811th game managed, and he has won 470 of those games. Add a 19-18 postseason record to his win totals.
When Maddon left Tampa Bay to come to Chicago, which shocked the baseball world, the rebuilding Cubs were ready to take their next leap. He immediately changed the culture and made it clear they were ready to win. That first season under him in 2015 was magical, going 97-65 and beating the Cardinals in the NLDS was the setup for that 2016 championship run.
"“That’s a shot and a beer. That’s the Hazleton way.” – Joe Maddon in his introductory presser"
Petting zoos, pajama parties, magic shows, wine drinking, hippie vans, Joe Maddon never failed to show his personality. Coming to Chicago gave him an opportunity to show off his quirkiness to a bigger audience. His t-shirts were a very popular buy among Cubs fans along with the other merchandise with his sayings on them.
So the search for a new manager will begin. While a few names have been discussed among the fans and local media, there is no current standout candidate. Knowing Theo Epstein the ideal candidate will embrace modern analytics and have the ability to connect to the players. Hard to say how many people fit that bill, but as time goes on we will learn more who they could be interested in.
These are huge shoes to fill. Will there ever be another Joe Maddon? No there will not be. Whoever takes his place will have to bring something new to the table and help move the team forward. It is hard to find someone who can do a better job, but someone who brings something new could be what the team needs after the disappointment of this season. Again time, will tell.
So with this, we say thank you Joe Maddon. Thank you for the World Series victory. Thank you for the fun postseason rides we have had in recent years. Thank you for making Cubs culture fun and relaxed. Thank you for being you. Best to whichever next adventure awaits.