In a press conference taking place right now, the Philadelphia Phillies announced that Charlie Manuel's tenure as manager is over and named former Cubs great Ryne Sandberg as their new interim manager.
I don't think I need to inform any of you about Sandberg's career, or how he had a Hall of Fame career after being included as a throw-in in the Ivan DeJesus for Larry Bowa trade. But his managerial career started shortly after being inducted into Cooperstown and his now-famous speech that is generally considered to be a thinly-veiled swipe and PED users. When then GM Jim Hendry decided not to bring back Dusty Baker, Sandberg called and asked to apply for the job.
Without any managerial or coaching experience, Hendry told him that he wouldn't be hired, but that if he wanted to be a major league manager, he should go down to the minors and get some experience. He spent two seasons managing the Peoria Chiefs, one season managing the Tennessee Smokies and his final year in the Cubs system managing the Iowa Cubs, Win-Loss records in the minors aren't the greatest way to evaluate a manager, since their primary job is to develop talent, but in his four years in the Cubs minors he led Peoria to a 71-69 and a 60-78 record in his two seasons there. His Tennessee team went 71-69 (and won the second half title) and his Iowa team went 72-72.
When Lou Piniella retired, Sandberg was widely considered to be the people's choice for the next Cubs manager. But he' wasn't Jim Hendry's choice, who hired Mike Quade. Around here, the whole affair was a matter of great and spirited debate. Sandberg took that as a sign he needed to move on from the Cubs, and while he did get an interview for the manager's job in St. Louis, he ended up being hired by Philadelphia to manage their Triple-A franchise, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. He took them to a 75-68 record.
After Quade got canned along with Hendry, new team president Theo Epstein called him to tell him that he would not be considered for the Cubs job, although he had great respect for his baseball knowledge. It was generally assumed that Epstein didn't want to put Sandberg into the rebuilding process that he was planning to undertake at Wrigley.
So this season, Sandberg was named the Phillies third base coach and after a disappointing season in Philadelphia, he's been named the new manager.
Most of us have a soft spot in our hearts for Ryno, the best player on the Cubs for about a decade. While I'm sure none of us are hoping that the Phillies beat the Cubs, we all wish the best for Ryne Sandberg.