But, in the end, the Cubs' recent failures took down both Baker and MacPhail.
John McDonough took over as interim president, but McDonough likely will oversee the team's operation through 2007 -- an decision considering that McDonough has been in charge of the team's marketing.
MacPhail enjoyed five winning seasons and two playoff appearances in 12 years but also endured seven losing seasons, including four last-place finishes.
"This is the first thing I've ever done in baseball that I didn't have a high level of success at," MacPhail said during an emotional news conference.
Baker was in the final year of a four-year, $14 million deal, and the Cubs went from a playoff team under his watch in 2003 to a last-place team in 2006.
"It just didn't work and you have to make a change and move forward in the best interest of the organization," general manager Jim Hendry said at Baker's news conference. "He's a very special guy. It's been hard to watch him go through some of the things he had to go through."
Baker, ever stoic, said, "I wish we could have gotten it done, but we didn't. I guess all things must come to an end and all things come to pass."
Among possible replacements rumored for the job are Lou Piniella and Joe Girardi.
--3B Aramis Ramirez finished the season with a career-best 38 homers and 119 RBIs. He is in the second year of a four-year, $42 million deal but has an "out" in his contract and could become a free agent. The Cubs and Ramirez are trying to rework a deal to keep him in Chicago.
--RHP Wade Miller, who had shoulder surgery performed in September 2005, pitched just four innings in a no-decision against Colorado on Sunday. In five starts with the Cubs, he finished 0-2 with a 4.57 ERA but never was able to go more than five innings.
--1B Derrek Lee, who was away from the team for close to two weeks to be with his ill daughter, Jada, managed to pick up a pinch hit in the 12th inning of Saturday's 14-inning loss to Colorado.
--RHP Juan Mateo did not make a good finishing impression. In the rookie's final start Saturday, he gave up seven runs on four hits with four walks in 1 2/3 innings against Colorado in a no-decision.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Seasons in a row the Cubs have drawn more than 3 million fans to Wrigley Field.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was scared. I really was when they told me. Once they came to tell me what they had found, there were like four or five doctors talking to me, so I knew something was wrong." -- LHP Glendon Rusch, who is recovering from a blood clot on his right lung that was discovered on Sept. 12.