blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter
blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter

Why did the Chicago Cubs let Sandberg walk?

Here is how the Iowa Cubs were thrilled to have Sandberg hired as the Iowa Cubs manager for the 2010 season

The Phillies don’t really play the Chicago Cubs all that much anymore like they used to before the myriad of interleague games crept into the baseball schedule. This Labor Day weekend series in Chicago for the Phillies is 4th time that the Phils and Cubs play this year and it will also end the season series between the two teams with 6 total games after this weekend. The Phillies hold a 2-1 lead in the season series with the Cubs.

The return of Ryne Sandberg to Chicago is the topic of conversation now more than ever since he was elevated to manager of the Phillies after Charlie Manuel was fired after the Phils posted a 53-67 record.

One of the major reasons the Cubs never hired Ryan Sandberg is a guy named Theo Epstein. Epstein had just taken the job of GM in Chicago in 2011 and immediately passed on Sandberg as the manager of the Cubs, even after Mike Quade was fired from the job in the Epstein regime. Quade did an admirable job in the taking of the Cubs reins in 2010 from Lou Pinella. The Cubs went 24-13 in the 37 games that Quade took over in late 2010 and the 1 year extension for Quade produced a 71-91 record in 2011 with a team that didn’t have many superstars. Quade was shown the door by Epstein and thought to be not the guy that he was looking for to manage the Cubs after 2011. Sandberg would have been an obvious choice by Epstein and one that would have made Cubs fans ecstatic, but Epstein’s enthusiasm for Ryno wasn’t there yet.

Why didn’t Epstein want Ryne Sandberg as manager of the Cubs? Maybe he didn’t want to be overshadowed by a Hall of Famer like Sandberg, who carries a big “Hall of Fame” cloud around with him? A move to Sandberg at that time could have made Epstein’s watch as Cubs GM a fairy tale story, instead he chose to keep Ryno under wraps and continued onto hire Dale Sveum. Sveum managed the Cubs to a 101 loss season last year, and this year is managing the Cubs to a 56-77 record (as of this morning), this Cubs team again who don’t really have many groundbreaking position players.

Ryne Sandberg was putting his managerial duties again at Philadelphia’s farm system in 2011 at the AAA level after Sandberg left the Cubs organization in a similar managerial role with the Iowa Cubs, with perhaps a promise of taking over the Phillies someday. The Cubs wanted Sandberg to return to the Iowa Cubs for the 2011 season after his ’10 season but he chose the Phillies opportunity instead.

Sandberg didn’t suddenly rise to the top of the Triple-A Cubs farm team, the Iowa Cubs. It was a long journey that lasted 4 years for Sandberg. Ryne Sandberg was a manager from the very bottom of the Cubs organization to his hiring in late 2009 for the 2010 season to AAA and the Iowa Cubs.

Sandberg endeared himself to the AAA job for the Cubs, he often signed autographs for 10-15 minutes or more before all of the Iowa Cubs home games. He is now the skipper of the Phillies though, and it’s the friendly confines of Wrigley today, but the Phillies want to win and so does Sandberg. If the Phillies can do anything right this season, they will go out and sweep this series with the listless Cubs.

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