8/16 Best of luck, Ryno
When the Cubs played in Philadelphia earlier this month, Darwin Barney talked to Ryne Sandberg about his future. At the time, Sandberg, who had been Barney’s Minor League manager for two seasons in the Cubs organization, was the Phillies third base coach.
“We talked about what his future was there and obviously, he was optimistic but he wasn’t at all thinking that it’s his job,” Barney said about the Phillies managerial job. “He was just happy to be at the big league level and obviously, very humble. I think it happened a little quicker than I thought. Good for him. I think there are good things to come.”
What happened on Friday was Sandberg’s promotion from coach to big league manager, replacing the Phillies’ Charlie Manuel as the interim manager for the remainder of the season.
Barney didn’t know about the news until after Friday’s Cubs game.
“I’m really happy for him,” Barney said. “He’s done every step to get there. He didn’t cut any corners, he didn’t hop on with a buddy at the big league level. He wanted to be a manager and he wanted to learn how to manage in the Minor Leagues, and watching his growth every year was kind of fun.
“I know it’s only an ‘interim’ in front of his name, but I think he’s going to do a good job and hopefully he can hold onto that job.”
Sandberg, who played 15 seasons with the Cubs, spent four years as a Minor League manager in their organization, beginning at Class A Peoria in 2007. Barney was on the team at the time, and learned a lot from the Hall of Fame second baseman.
“The main thing was his competitive nature and the way he prepared for every game, even as a manager,” Barney said. “He didn’t say too much when things weren’t needed to be said. When he did say things, you definitely listened because it was very timely and to the point. I think he became a players’ manager pretty quick. He’s a guy you think about and you want to go to battle with him.”
Sandberg, named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year in 2010, made it clear he wanted to manage the big league Cubs but then GM Jim Hendry bypassed him in 2011 and hired Mike Quade, who was dismissed after one season.
Sandberg endured the bus rides and the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the long hours required of a Minor League manager. He didn’t shy from the chores just because he was enshrined in Cooperstown.
“[Being a Hall of Famer] was the last thing on his mind,” Barney said. “One of the things I thought when he left the Cubs organization was that maybe that will help him because now he’s not Ryne Sandberg, Hall of Fame second baseman for the Chicago Cubs, but now he’s Ryne Sandberg, the manager. I think that paid dividends in the end. I wish him the best of luck.”
– Carrie Muskat