GENEVA, Ill. - Former Kane County Cougars manager Rick Renteria was officially named the 53rd manager in the history of the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. Renteria managed the Cougars in 1999 and went 78-59 while claiming Midwest League Manager of the Year honors, guiding a team that included seven players who advanced to the major leagues to the second round of the playoffs.
Renteria becomes the second former Cougars manager to receive a big league managerial position as '93 Cougars manager Carlos Tosca skippered the Toronto Blue Jays from 2002 to 2004. The Cougars' .569 winning percentage under Renteria in 1999 is the fourth-best season in the Cougars' 23-year history. At the time, the Cougars were in the midst of a 10-year affiliation with the Florida Marlins. Notable big leaguers who played in Geneva under Renteria that season include Matt Treanor and Nate Robertson. Following the season, Renteria was named by Baseball America as the top managerial prospect in the Midwest League, and the Marlins awarded him with the Carl Barger Player Development Person of the Year Award.
The 51-year old Renteria joins the Cubs with 30 years of professional baseball experience, including the last six years as the bench coach (2011-13) and first base coach (2008-10) with San Diego. Renteria enjoyed a 13-year professional playing career that included all or part of five major league campaigns with Pittsburgh, Seattle and Florida.
Last season, the first former Cougars player was named to a big league managerial position in '93 Cougar Mike Redmond, who manages the Miami Marlins. Redmond spent the '93 season under the tutelage of the aforementioned Tosca that season at Kane County.
The Cougars, Class-A farm team of the Chicago Cubs, has had at least one former player make a Major League debut in each season, dating back to 1993. The list includes Major League All-Stars, World Series champions and former MVP, Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and Triple Crown award winners. Most recently, the Boston Red Sox roster included a pair of first-time World Series winners in pitchers Ryan Dempster ('96 Cougar) and Andrew Bailey ('07 Cougar).