Ryne Sandberg is no longer the Philadelphia Phillies’ interim manager.
Today, the team gave him the job officially along with a three-year contract. Sandberg, 54. is the only MLB Hall of Famer currently managing in either the National or American League.
The Phillies are 18-17 under Sandberg who took over for Charlie Manuel who was fired on August 16 in the wake of a long losing streak. Overall, the Phillies — who lost their final home game of the season today at CItizens Bank Park to the Mets — are 71-84, fourth place in the National League East.
Of the Sandberg hiring announcement this morning, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that “We feel that Ryne has the qualities and leadership skills that are essential to move our club and our organization forward. Ryne’s six years as a minor league manager, Hall of Fame credentials, and work ethic warrant this opportunity.”
Sandberg — who will become the team’s 52nd manager — ironically broke into the big leagues with the Phillies in September 1981 but was subsequently traded to the Chicago Cubs after 13 games and six at-bats. The right-handed second baseman played for the Cubs from 1982 to 1994 when he retired. He unretired in 1996 and played for the Cubs for two additional years before retiring for good. Sandberg is a lifetime.285 hitter, with 2,386 hits, 282 home runs, and about 1,000 RBI. He was a 10-time All-Star, the 1984 National MVP, and a nine-time Gold Glove winner. Sandberg was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2005.
Commenting on the Sandberg hire, former Phillies third baseman Michael Young said that “Some guys that had that kind of playing career are a little reluctant to go the minors and work their way up. And he did that. We all have a ton of respect for him that.” Sandberg was bypassed for the Cubs managerial job even though he managed four years in the Cubs minor-league system before the two years he spent as skipper of the LeHigh Valley Iron Pigs, the Phillies Triple-A affiliate.
Said Sandberg about becoming the Phillies manager, “I am a positive guy and I like to do my work and let my work speak for itself. You never know in baseball, but I had a good feeling about what was going on here, and things felt good here. It felt good in the clubhouse. It felt good in the dugout.” He also said that getting the Phillies job on a permanent basis was both a dream come true and a relief. Sandberg noted that his team has a core of veteran stars that will help lead the way next season with the younger players. “And with that combination, the goal is to contend every year and to get to a World Series. I think it’s a bright future, I’m ecstatic about being here.”