NEW YORK -- The day after the Chicago Cubs fired manager Don Zimmer after a confrontation with the team president, Chicago hired an organizational man as his replacement. The club yesterday promoted Jim Essian, who has been a minor-league manager in the system since 1986.
Essian, 40, becomes the youngest manager in the big leagues. He has managed 15 players on the Cubs' roster while in the minor leagues.
"My idea was to stay in the organization," general manager Jim Frey said. "I've got confidence in Jim Essian. He knows all our players."
Said Essian: "I've had a lot of the players before, and they've reacted well to me. Hopefully, they'll react this time with whatever may be lacking at this point."
Essian immediately made a key change in the lineup, moving Shawon Dunston into the leadoff spot and dropping Jerome Walton to eighth. The Cubs beat the New York Mets, 5-2.
A former catcher, Essian was a career .244 hitter during 12 big-league seasons. He joined the Cubs as a manager in 1986, spending one season in Class A, three in Class AA and the past two in Class AAA. His record is 446-390 (.533).