Cubs release Fred McGriff

Oct. 31, 2002 at 5:01 PM
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CHICAGO, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The Chicago Cubs cut their ties with Fred McGriff Thursday, declining their contract option with the veteran first baseman for the 2003 season.

The 39-year-old McGriff hit .273 with 30 homers and 103 RBI this season, reaching 30 home runs for the 10th time in his career.

The departure of McGriff opens the door for Hee Seop Choi, the first Korean position player to reach the major leagues, to take over as the Cubs' regular first baseman.

McGriff has 478 homers, 1,503 RBI and a .286 batting average during a 17-year career that includes stints with Toronto, San Diego, Atlanta and Tampa Bay. The Cubs acquired him from the Devil Rays in a July 2001 trade for pitcher Manny Aybar and infielder Jason Smith.

McGriff is one of three players to homer ar least 200 times in both leagues, joining Frank Robinson and Mark McGwire. He is the only player in big league history to hit 30 homers in a season for five different clubs.

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