November 02, 2004
Hunsicker departs

Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker has stepped down from his position.

Adamant that he had sought an exit strategy for about a year, Hunsicker stepped down and ceded his position to longtime assistant Tim Purpura. Even though Hunsicker led the Astros through their most successful era, it was clear franchise owner Drayton McLane did not try to persuade him to stay.

The announcement was made less than two weeks after the Astros fell one victory short of earning the first World Series appearance in the franchise's 43 seasons.

"I think after the extra emotion and demands of this year and all the major issues hanging over this organization, knowing that next year would be my last, the more we talked about it, it made some sense that this might be in the best interests for everybody," Hunsicker said.

Hunsicker -- who helped the Astros win division titles in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001 and a wild card this year -- will serve the final year of his contract as an adviser to Purpura in a role that hasn't been determined.

Tom thinks this is a sign that Astros' owner Drayton McLane is trying to sell the club. The Chron's Richard Justice says Hunsicker got tired of dealing with McLane. Rafe has some info on Hunsicker's successor, Tim Purpura. Lisa thinks this bodes ill for re-signing Carlos Beltran.

I don't have much to offer here. Hunsicker did a fine job under difficult conditions. His biggest failures were due to fan constraints (re-signing Biggio and Bagwell), that's-the-way-it-goes luck (the Randy Johnson trade; wouldn't Carlos Guillen look good in an Astro uniform?), and the usual low-level overpaying for fungible but clubhouse-friendly commodities (Jose Vizcaino, anyone?), while his biggest successes are right there on the field - Oswalt, Lidge, Berkman, and so forth. Whichever team gets his services next will be doing itself a favor.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 02, 2004 to Baseball | TrackBack

I tend to agree with Lisa here. I suspect that McLane doesn't plan to spend a lot of money to keep this team together, and Hunsicker doesn't want to take the blame or the fall for it. So why not get out now while he'll be praised by Astros fans for their Lazarus-like stretch drive and near-World Series appearance, instead of vilified for letting Beltran (and perhaps others) get away?

Posted by: Tim on November 2, 2004 12:31 PM

If he is trying to sell the team, why would the owner dump a succesful GM? I lean toward Lisa's interpretation also.

Posted by: kevin on November 2, 2004 3:18 PM