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Cubs' Poor Record Costs Baylor His Job


The Chicago Cubs fired Manager Don Baylor on Friday, joining the growing list of clubs that have changed directions in the dugout before the All-Star break, then brought Bruce Kimm from triple-A Iowa as interim manager.

Baylor became the seventh manager ousted in the first half of the season, taking the fall for the Cubs' listless performance and 34-49 record as the weekend began. The Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays have also changed managers.

With the Cubs expected to contend for the National League Central title, Baylor, the 1995 National League manager of the year with the Rockies, began his third season in Chicago under the microscope, and team executives did not like what they saw.

"When the talent on the field does not equal the amount of victories in the standings, that is the criteria for making a change," said Cub President Andy MacPhail, who increased the payroll to $76 million from about $65 million at the start of last season. "It's not always a fair one, but that's the way we see it."

The club also announced that Jim Hendry had been promoted to general manager, assuming MacPhail's former player-personnel duties. Kimm was expected to join the Cubs today, so bench coach Rene Lachemann ran the club Friday night.

Baylor, the American League's most valuable player with the Angels in 1979, was 187-220 in 2 1/2 seasons in Chicago. He managed the Rockies for six seasons, guiding them to the 1995 NL wild-card berth, and is 627-685 overall.

The Cubs were 88-74 in 2001 and led the division most of the way until September but were 12 1/2 games out of first place after Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Braves. Many veteran players have struggled, contributing to the club's ranking 14th among 16 NL teams in batting at .242.

"We just didn't win enough games," Cub first baseman Fred McGriff said. "You've got to win games in this profession. We went out there and played for him, we just didn't win games."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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