More than a few people were surprised when Mike Quade was named manager of the Cubs last August, replacing Lou Piniella.
Others were surprised when Quade beat out Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg in October to keep the job.
And others may have been surprised that Quade was able to rally a dead-looking team and get it to finish the season with 24 wins in its final 37 games after a 100-loss season looked to be on the horizon.
But it didn't surprise Mike Quade.
Confident but not cocky, Quade had plenty of time to hone his dugout skills while laboring for 17 years in the minor leagues as a manager.
"It kind of goes like that throughout my career, I always felt like I understood the game, I related well to players that, to a much lesser extent in the minor leagues, I could speak and could deal with you guys (media)," he says. "I always felt that way."
He may have felt that way for a long time, but he wasn't saying it aloud too often. Maybe that slowed his climb.
"Some people say you need an agent," Quade says. "I was wasn't going to promote Mike Quade. My actions, or people that were impressed with my actions, someone else was going to have to promote me.
"The one thing I always said was that if I get an interview, then I'll be glad to tell you who I am and why I think this or why I think that. But in the meantime, people make phone calls. People keep in touch. People network. People do a lot of things.
"My brother's in business. My dad's in business. They said, 'If you're not networking, you should do some things.' They were right. But I just didn't. And I don't. I don't schmooze well."
That said, Quade doesn't sound like a guy who'd do it any differently if he had to do it over.
"Maybe it needed to go that long so that not only could I learn stuff and be fully prepared, but also the relationships you make along the way so that you're kind of networked because you've been doing it for 17 years," he says. "And especially players, they don't have to love you. But someone can say, 'Oh, yeah, I played for him.' You look around. There are guys all over the place who are familiar with me now. It took a long time for that to happen."