He's the Choice

The wait is over. Lou Piniella was officially announced as the new manager of the Chicago Cubs at a press conference Tuesday at Wrigley Field. The 63-year-old Piniella, who has managed four previous clubs in his career, becomes the 56th manager in Cubs franchise history.

Piniella agreed earlier this week to a three-year contract with the Cubs. He last managed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for three seasons from 2003-2005, compiling 200 wins and 285 losses with the American League club.

Piniella spent the past year working as a broadcast analyst for FOX.

"I want to thank the Tribune Company and the Chicago Cubs' organization for affording me this opportunity," Piniella said in his opening remarks at a press conference Tuesday at Wrigley Field. "It's a tremendous challenge for me and it's something that I will work exceedingly hard at."

Piniella replaces recently departed manager Dusty Baker, who served as Cubs skipper from 2002-06. Baker was 322-326 at the helm of the Cubs.

For his part, Piniella's managerial career began in 1986 when he guided the New York Yankees for two seasons and parts of a third.

Piniella won the World Series with the Cincinnati Reds in his first year as the team's skipper in 1990. He became manager of the Seattle Mariners in 1993 and won 840 games (including 116 in 2001) in 10 seasons.

"I asked (Cubs General Manager) Jim (Hendry) when he interviewed me about 10 days ago down in Tampa, I said, ‘Jim, why do you want me for your manager?'" Piniella said. "He said, ‘We want you to come in here and win.'

"That was exactly what I wanted to here."

Joe Girardi, a former Cubs catcher recently dismissed after one season as manager of the Florida Marlins; Bob Brenly, currently the Cubs' TV color analyst; and minor league coaches Mike Quade and Pat Listach also interviewed for the position eventually awarded to Piniella.

In 19 seasons as a big league manager, Piniella has compiled 1,519 regular season victories and 1,420 losses for a .517 winning percentage. He was a two-time American League Manager of the Year winner.

Piniella's first order with his new club is to assemble a coaching staff.

"I'm a delegator," he said. "I like coaches that handle their particular areas and can do their jobs."

One member of Piniella's staff has already been announced, as Piniella said that pitching coach Larry Rothschild would be retained on into 2007.

Rothschild has been the Cubs' pitching coach since 2002.

"I had Larry in Cincinnati," Piniella recalled. "In fact, I was the one that brought him up to the big leagues in 1990. He did a great job for me for three years over there. He's a really good baseball coach and pitching coach. He really cares and is passionate about his work.

"We're going to keep him. He'll do a nice job here."

Piniella has been to the post-season five times in his managerial career with his last stint coming with the Mariners in '01. Seattle lost in the ALCS to the Yankees in five games that year.

"We're going to win here," Piniella said. "That's really the end of the story."

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