Chicago Cubs

Cubs' Theo Epstein: David Ross earned manager's job on 'merits'

Former Cubs catcher David Ross, shown celebrating after Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 22, 2016, at Wrigley Field, has been hired to replace Joe Maddon as their manager.
Former Cubs catcher David Ross, shown celebrating after Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 22, 2016, at Wrigley Field, has been hired to replace Joe Maddon as their manager.

On Monday morning at Wrigley Field, the Cubs will introduce David Ross as the 55th manager in franchise history.

Even though he has no managing or coaching experience at any level, the Cubs are confident Ross can handle a big job based on his 15-year career as a major league catcher.

Replacing Joe Maddon, who was announced as the Angels’ new manager Thursday, Ross is getting a three-year contract with a club option for 2023.

“David is as gifted a leader as I’ve ever come across, and I expect him to become a great manager,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said in a statement. “He is a natural connector with a high baseball IQ and a passion for winning. He earned the job on the merits, and he will move the team forward in a new and different direction.

“We are excited to hire David as our manager and look forward to working together to foster a winning culture and build the next Cubs championship team.”

The 42-year-old Ross spent his past two seasons playing for the Cubs and hit a home run in his final appearance – an 8-7 win over the Indians in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

“I’m honored by this opportunity to be the next manager of the Chicago Cubs,” Ross said in a statement. “My time with this organization has been special since the day I joined, so to continue with the club in this role is a blessing for which I’m so very thankful.

“We have accomplished so much together since 2015, and my desire to lead this organization to another World Series championship could not be any stronger.”

Ross played with many of the Cubs he is going to manage starting next season. As an established veteran in 2015-16, Ross always was viewed as a strong leader and ideal teammate.

His new role will be interesting to watch.

“A lot has been made, and rightfully so, of my connection to the 2016 World Series team and the notion that I’ll now be managing players I once counted on as teammates,” Ross said. “Having those relationships going into this will be a bonus, no doubt about it. But those guys know I’ll be the first to hold them accountable, the first to demand their best daily effort and the first to let them know about it if they give anything but their best.

“I never had a problem dishing out a lot of tough love as their teammate, and that won’t change as their manager. We’ll have our fair share of fun along the way, but working hard as a team, playing fundamental team baseball and winning a lot of games will be our top priorities.”

Ross might be best known for appearing on “Dancing With the Stars” after retiring as a player, but he has worked in the Cubs’ front office as a special assistant to baseball operations the past three years and has been an analyst on ESPN telecasts.

He’s the youngest Cubs manager since 42-year-old Jim Riggleman was hired in 1995.

“There will be people I want to thank on Monday, but for today I’d especially like to thank my family and two of my mentors, Bobby Cox and Joe Maddon, for their guidance and support throughout the years,” Ross said. “I’d also like to thank the Ricketts family, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the Cubs for this opportunity of a lifetime. Now let’s get to work.”

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