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Rockies GM Gebhard Resigns

Colorado Rockies general manager Bob Gebhard resigned Friday as the team struggled through the final weeks of its third straight losing season.

Rockies owner Jerry McMorris announced Gebhard's resignation at Coors Field while the Rockies played the Cubs in Chicago. He said a search for Gebhard's replacement will begin immediately.

Gebhard's job has been in jeopardy for a year. Colorado, which made the playoffs in 1995 in its third season, finished 77-85 last year. The Rockies kept Gebhard but fired manager Don Baylor and replaced him with Jim Leyland.

Colorado is last in the NL West, starting Friday with a 54-69 record.

Gebhard, 56, was hired in the fall of 1991, about 18 months before the Rockies started play. In the November 1992 expansion draft, he selected Vinny Castilla, Curtis Leskanic and Kevin Ritz. He also traded for Dante Bichette and signed Andres Galarraga.

Gebhard has made other shrewd deals, notably signing free agent Larry Walker before the 1995 season. But he has been criticized for other moves, such as the acquisitions of Greg Harris, Bill Swift and Bret Saberhagen and the departures of Galarraga, Walt Weiss, Andy Ashby, Brad Ausmus, Joe Girardi and Armando Reynoso.

Since making the playoffs, the Rockies have disappointed fans. They finished 83-79 in each of the 1996 and 1997 season before dropping below .500 last year.

While Colorado has the top batting average in the National League, it has the worst ERA in the majors.

Gebhard began his professional baseball career as a pitcher, playing 11 years that including stints with the Minnesota Twins and the Montreal Expos.

He was a player/coach for Montreal from 1974-75, was promoted to minor league field director in 1976 and later to pitching coach.

He joined the Minnesota Twins in 1987 as director of player personnel, and became a team vice president the following year.

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