Former big league pitcher and Cubs general manager Ed Lynch chatted with MLBTR readers for more than two hours this morning. You can read the transcript here, and read up on his fascinating career below:
Before he became GM of the Cubs, Ed Lynch was a pitcher. He was drafted by the Rangers out of the University of South Carolina in the 22nd round back in 1977. A few years later, Lynch was traded to the Mets.
Lynch broke in with the Mets in 1980. Lynch led the Mets with 94 starts from 1981-85, working with rotation-mates such as Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, and Mike Scott. Known for his excellent control, Lynch ranked fifth in the NL in walk rate in ’83 and third in ’85.
Unfortunately, Lynch’s time with the legendary ’86 Mets was cut short, as he was traded to the Cubs on June 30th of that year. As Lynch later put it to Jennifer Frey of the New York Times, “It was like living with a family all year, then getting kicked out on Christmas Eve.” After the ’87 season, Lynch’s pitching career was over.
According to Frey, Lynch “went on to receive a law degree at the University of Miami. He was hired out of law school by Joe McIlvaine — then the general manager in San Diego — to serve as director of player development for the Padres.” After a brief stint under McIlvaine back with the Mets, Lynch was named GM of the Cubs in October 1994 at the age of 38.
Lynch’s top draft picks during his tenure as Cubs GM included Kerry Wood, Jon Garland, and Corey Patterson. One key Lynch trade, which I remember vividly reading about in the newspaper at the age of 15, was an August 1997 deal that sent Brian McRae, Mel Rojas, and Turk Wendell to the Mets for Mark Clark and Lance Johnson.
Those players were a key part of the 1998 Cubs, a Lynch team that broke a nine-year playoff drought. Led by a 66 home run season by Sammy Sosa and the typically-excellent Mark Grace, the ’98 Cubs also included Lynch pickups Mickey Morandini, Henry Rodriguez, Gary Gaetti, Kevin Tapani, and Rod Beck. Kerry Wood took home Rookie of the Year honors that season.
Player acquisitions during Lynch’s tenure as Cubs GM also included Brian McRae, Jaime Navarro, Todd Zeile, Luis Gonzalez, Scott Servais, Terry Mulholland, Jeff Blauser, Jon Lieber, and Eric Young. Additionally, Lynch was Cubs GM when Ryne Sandberg came out of retirement in 1996. Lynch was also responsible for the hiring of manager Don Baylor in 1999, the first minority to hold that job in franchise history.
According to a SABR article by Jon Springer, Lynch “remained in the Cubs organization for another decade as a special assistant to the GM before joining the Toronto Blue Jays as a professional scout in 2010.” USA Today’s Bob Nightengale caught up with Lynch in February 2020, revealing that he’s now working as a realtor.
Ed is the first former MLB GM to come on for a live chat here. If any other former GMs happen to read this and would like to participate, drop us a line! You get to choose which questions to publish and answer, and it only takes an hour.
For Love of the Game
Great baseball career overall, but take a look at the last line from his final year in the minors with the Giants (AAA in 1987):
1 game, 3-2/3 innings, 14 hits, 15 runs (all earned), 5 HRs allowed.
That might be the worst single-game line I’ve ever seen. Also terrific that he retired, went to law school, and returned to the game in an executive capacity. Who doesn’t love a successful second act?
Sorry but there’s not s feel good story about Lynch. He let Greg Maddux walk from the Cubs because he said he could get 3 players for Maddux’s free agent salary. He also wanted to trade Sammy Sosa but I made a call to the Cubs President to stop him. My call and I’m sure many more got him fired.
Incorrect on Maddux, that was Larry Himes. Lynch became Cubs GM more than a year after Maddux left.
Tim is the best!
For Love of the Game
Yes, and Google could’ve been Steve Rogers’ best friend!
Ha ha. Gold.
Very true it was Larry who let Maddux walk and also got Sammy from the Sox if I am correct.
Not only was I wrong on here but I was wrong on talking to the Cubs President. Sorry guys!
Wrong GM. However, circa 1993 that statement was correct
In terms of getting another executive on here, I bet we can get David Samson on here, this kind of stuff is his bread and butter
Do it !! The man is a wealth of knowledge and good humour.
Or John coppollella he loves this stuff
I enjoyed that jotcast with Ed Lynch as I do with all who have participated. Please keep them coming. All the insights are great.
Just an excellent chat, really enjoyed the honesty. Man, Kerry Wood was going to be awesome- damn shame.
We will be doing another chat with Ed in a month or so. He admitted he’s a slow typist, so I’ll type for him and he’ll be able to get to more questions.
Ask him for a do-over on the sinker-ball question. It looked like an interesting answer but it got garbled. I think it might have more relevance with the changes in the game today when pure velocity may have to be substituted for other type of pitches, to sinkers and cutters.
Did the Mets give Ed Lynch a World Series ring for the time the spent there before the trade?!
If not, they should make up for that injustice and give him one!
I’m sure they did. Players who participate on the 25-man squad throughout the season get rings.
Would like to hear it from Ed Lynch.
Back when he was playing, players who left the team before an entire season was played did not always get the World Series Championship ring.
Some teams were better than others about this issue.
I find it interesting that the Cubs tried to get Randy Johnson in ’98. Could you imagine having to face both Johnson and Kerry Wood both throwing 100mph in a short series?
The part about Todd Helton was interesting too. There are so many moves behind the scenes that don’t happen for whatever reason that history could be so drastically different for teams and players
We had to do it against the DBacks with Randy and Schilling and also you guys with Pedro and Schilling. Pedro didn’t throw that hard but only bc his other pitches were so good.
Mike Murphy would like for you to know that Ed Lynch is still on the Cubs’ payroll.
Loved reading the transcript, these chats are a great addition to the site. The candor and insight is appreciated.