Ryne Sandberg has resigned his role as the manager of the Phillies, he announced today.
While I was writing this article, the Phillies sent out this very terse tweet on the resignation:
Ryne Sandberg has resigned as manager of the Phillies. Pete Mackanin will serve as interim manager.— Phillies (@Phillies) June 26, 2015
The best instant summation of Sandberg's managerial career comes from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:
Collapse of #Phillies obviously not Sandberg’s fault, but widespread feeling within industry is that he was overmatched as a manager.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 26, 2015
I agree with Rosenthal. As you surely remember, Sandberg did a widely-praised good job managing in the Cubs farm system from 2007-2010, after he asked Jim Hendry if he could succeed Dusty Baker as Cubs manager. Hendry told him he needed experience, so Sandberg went back to the lowest levels and got some, enough to be named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year in 2010 with the Iowa Cubs.
Many people here (myself included) wanted Sandberg to be named Cubs manager in 2011, and again in 2012. It wasn't going to happen, given Hendry's leanings toward helping out his buddies (in Mike Quade) and Theo Epstein didn't seem to want Sandberg as manager either. In hindsight, that appears to have been the right move. Sandberg seems very "old-school" and while there's nothing wrong with that, that sort of manager is falling out of fashion in modern baseball.
Sandberg seems to be the kind of guy who works very well with young players in the minor leagues -- many Cubs who played for him thought he was great -- but he can't handle the pressures of the big-league level, particularly with a team like the Phillies which is on the downslide.
Mackanin, who interviewed for the Cubs managing job when Dale Sveum was hired, certainly deserves at least an interim gig. He'll be 64 in August so doesn't seem like a long-term solution for the Phillies' woes.
Sandberg finishes his Phillies managing career with a record of 119-159. I give him credit for learning the job from the bottom up, and wish him well in the future. He'll always be a treasured member of the Cubs family.