Green took over the Phillies as field manager late in the 1979 season. He would lead the team to their first ever World Series in a year later. The team had made it 97 seasons without winning a World Series title. The Phillies made it to the postseason in 1981 and lost to the Montreal Expos in the first ever NLDS. Green left the Phillies after the series to take the job as GM of the Cubs. Three deals Green made with the Phillies paid dividends immediately. Of course, the deal that sent SS Ivan DeJesus to the Phillies for Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa is well known. However, the team also traded for Phillies OF Keith Moreland and RHP Dickie Noles, sending Mike Krukow to Philadelphia. Prior to the 1984 season, the Phillies sent OFs Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier to the Cubs for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz. During the 1983 season, in a deal that had mixed results, Green send LHP Willie Hernandez to the Phillies for RHP Dick Ruthven. Though Ruthven was the Cubs opening day starter in 1984 it was Hernandez who would win the 1984 Cy Young and MVP pitching for the Detroit Tigers.
In addition to the Phillies trades, Green also dealt for 3B Ron Cey (LA) and pitchers Scott Sanderson (Mon) and Steve Trout (White Sox). In fact, among the Cubs starting nine on opening day of 1984, only catcher Jody Davis came up through the Cubs farm system. 1B Leon Durham was on the team when Green took over in 1981 but had been acquired in the 1980 offseason from St Louis in the Bruce Sutter deal. Green had traded for his entire four man rotation which featured Ruthven, Chuck Rainey (1983 from the Red Sox), Sanderson and Trout. 5th starter Rick Reuschel was recovering from a torn rotator cuff and served as the fifth starter. However, the Cubs would not go to the 5th starter until 4/20, the 14th game of the season. The Cubs had used the prior 4 the first 4 and a half times through the rotation. Of course, the Cubs made the trade for Eckersley, who had a big impact on the rotation and on 6/13, Green would make an even bigger deal to land Indians RHP Rick Sutcliffe. The Cubs traded OFs Joe Carter and Mel Hall to land Sutcliffe, who would go 16-1 for the Cubs and win the NL Cy Young Award in 1984. Catcher Ron Hassey and RHP George Frazier also came over in the same trade. After a while, Ruthven was out of the rotation and Rainey was traded (to Oakland for 2B Davey Lopes).
Looking back at this team, the 1984 Cubs were ready to win. Having Lee Smith at the end of game certainly helped. Among 1984 Cubs there were seven players who had won a World Series with either the Phillies of 1980 or the Dodgers of 1981. The problem was it was a win now type of team. As much as Green deserves respect for going for it in 1984, he deserves the blame for the team falling apart pretty quickly after 1984. Both the Cardinals and Mets had younger, healthier, hungrier teams and the Cubs quickly fell to a second division club.
Of course, the Cubs would get themselves back together in the 1989 season. With a younger team and a mix of some new veteran players. Only three players, Sandberg, Sutcliffe and Sanderson, were still on the Cubs when they lost to the Giants in the 1989 NLCS. Ironically, the GM of the 1989 Cubs was Jim Frey, the manager of the 1984 team.