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Cubs give Quade 2-yr. contract

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Mike Quade is the 51st manager of the Chicago Cubs.

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The Cubs today made the announcement expected for weeks, making Mike Quade the full-time replacement for retiring manager Lou Piniella –- signaling a belief that New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi would not make himself available to be a candidate.

The announcement comes one day after another Cub finalist for the job, Eric Wedge, was officially named the manager in Seattle.

The decision also becomes a lightning rod for a significant portion of Cubs fans who wanted to see franchise icon Ryne Sandberg get the job in what was a two-man race with Girardi out of the picture.

Sandberg, who won the Pacific Coast League manager of the year award this year in his fourth season in the Cubs' system, was informed of the decision early today. He's expected to explore other managerial openings.

Quade, 53, had no big-league managing experience until taking over the team the final six weeks when Piniella was forced home early to care for his ailing mother. Cubs signed Quade to a two-year agreement with a club option for the 2013 season.

Taking over a team that had lost 20 of its previous 25 games, he went 24-13 down the stretch, with series wins over St. Louis and San Diego that helped eliminate those teams from the playoff race.

Veteran players lined up in the final week of the season to lobby for his return as the full-time manager, praising his communication skills especially.

Quade spent 17 seasons as a minor-league manager, including four with the Cubs' AAA affiliate, and three seasons as a coach on Art Howe's Oakland A's staffs. He was on Piniella's staff the past four years.

Quade is the 51st manager in franchise history.

In addition to his six-week stint at the big league level this season, Quade has 17 years and 2,378 games of experience as a manager at the minor league level, compiling a career mark of 1,213-1,165. Quade has served as a major league coach in the American and National Leagues, including three seasons as Oakland's first base coach from 2000-02 and the near four years as third base coach with the Cubs.

Quade has more than 25 years of pro coaching and managing experience, including a pair of minor league manager of the year awards with Double-A Harrisburg in 1991 and Triple-A Ottawa in 1993. As a winter ball manager, Quade led Aguilas Cibaenas to the 1996-97 Dominican Winter League Championship and Caribbean World Series title.

In 1999, Quade led Vancouver to the Pacific Coast League Championship and won the Triple-A World Series. A year later, Quade received his first major league coaching opportunity with Oakland.

The Mount Prospect native joined the Cubs organization in 2003 as manager of the Triple-A Iowa club. A year later in 2004, Quade led the Iowa-Cubs to a spot in the League Championship Series and totaled two first-place finishes in his four seasons at the helm to earn the promotion to Piniella's major league coaching staff.

Overall, Quade has served as a manager in the Montreal, Philadelphia, Oakland and Cubs farm systems. He was originally selected by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 1979 Draft (out of the University of New Orleans) and spent four seasons as an outfielder in Pittsburgh's minor league system (1979-82) before retiring and entering the coaching ranks. He received his first managerial position in 1985 with Single-A Macon.