Cubs officially hire David Ross as their next manager

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Former Chicago Cubs player David Ross throws out a ceremonial first pitch before game five of the National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 19, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – The reports came out on Wednesday, but since there was a World Series game that night, it’s a courtesy to the competing clubs not to announce any major news.

So it wasn’t until Thursday that the Cubs made their next managerial hire official.

The team announced David Ross as their 55th manager in team history as they signed him to a three-year contract with a club option for a fourth.

“I’m honored by this opportunity to be the next manager of the Chicago Cubs,” said Ross in a statement released by the team.  “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.

“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.  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.”

Since retiring as a member of the team in 2016 after a 14-year playing career, Ross has been a special assistant to president Theo Epstein. He has also been a commentator for ESPN’s baseball coverage during that time.

Playing his final two years in Chicago, Ross was a critical leader on a pair of successful Cubs teams that brought success a century in the making for the franchise. He helped the 2015 Cubs to 97 victories and a berth in the National League Championship Series and in 2016 aided the team’s first World Series championship run in 108 years.

In an iconic franchise moment, Ross hit a home run off Indians pitcher Andrew Miller in his final major league at-bat in Game 7 of the World Series in Cleveland. Yet Epstein said in his statement today that his connection to this current ear of the team played only a small part in their decision.

“David’s connection to the organization and his relationships with his former teammates could be assets initially, but they were not factors in our decision nor will they be critical to his long-term success in the role,” said Epstein. “He earned the job on the merits, and he will move the team forward in a new and different direction. We are excited to have David as our manager and look forward to working together to foster a winning culture and build the next Cubs championship team.”

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