Wednesday, June 28, 2017
 
If Cubs Win Series, One Thing’s Certain: GM Theo Epstein Headed to Hall

CHICAGO Oct. 24 (DPI) – As baseball fans settle in for an historic World Series, some may ponder who’ll get the credit if the Chicago Cubs break their 108-year championship drought. And the answer, without much debate, will be 42-year-old Cubs General Manager Theo Epstein.

The series, which starts tomorrow, pits the National League champion Cubs against the American League’s Cleveland Indians. They are baseball’s two clubs that have gone the longest without a championship.  (The Indians last won in 1948; before last week the Cubs last won the NL pennant 71 years ago.) A World Series victory for Cleveland would be another emotional milestone for a city that hadn’t won a championship in any sort since 1954 – LeBon James’s Cleveland Cavaliers broke that drought by winning the NBA title in June, and many pundits have pointed out that the baseball Indians have carried that winning momentum into October.

But the most resounding narrative of this year’s Series is the Cubs, MLB’s best team during the regular season, and since the spring an odds-on favorite to win it all. Most of the team’s success should be credited to the Cubs’ GM Epstein, who signed on with the franchise in 2011 after serving as GM of the Boston Red Sox.  It was there that Epstein built his reputation, assembling the team that, in 2004, won its first World Series title since 1918, breaking the so-called “Curse of The Bambino.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame has inducted only four General Managers: Branch Rickey (1967), George Weiss (1971), Ed Barrow (1953) and  most recently Pat Gillick who over three decades ran different four teams. He was inducted in 2011.

Epstein, who rather famously assumed the helm of The Red Sox when he was only 28 years old, in 2002, acquired a reputation early as a skilled organizer and assessor of baseball talent. With the Cubs he drafted core players such as Kris Bryant and traded for young players such as Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta, who won the NL Cy Young last year.  In the most recent off-season Epstein signed free agents Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, putting the team in a position to win a championship for the first time in 108 years.

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