Ryne Sandberg played just 13 games for the Phillies before they traded him to the Chicago Cubs in 1982. At the time it was not such a big deal but in time it became one of the more infamously lopsided trades in franchise history. Sandberg was part of a two-for-one deal sending both veteran Phils shortstop Larry Bowa and Sandberg – a prospect to Chicago in exchange for shortstop Ivan DeJesus. Fortunately, the Phillies also made two other deals within 6 months that caught larger headlines. **
There is a chance Ryne Sandberg could rejoin the Phillies organization in 2011 – and possibly Bowa as well. Sandberg is a candidate to fill their managerial vacancy with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, according to sources, although it was unclear Tuesday if they have formally interviewed him. Sandberg had been a candidate for the Cubs’ managerial job, but once they hired interim manager Mike Quade instead, he informed the organization he would not return as its Triple-A Iowa skipper. The Cubs said Sandberg is free to explore other opportunities.
“I can tell you that we have started the process of interviewing candidates for the Triple-A job,” Phillies assistant GM Chuck LaMar said Tuesday morning. “I’m not going to comment on candidates or a timetable or how many candidates until we get done.” Sandberg still has connections in Philadelphia.
Dallas Green, who is senior advisor to GM Ruben Amaro Jr., remains close with Sandberg. Green was Chicago’s general manager when he fleeced Philadelphia in one of the worst trades in franchise history. The 1982 deal sent Larry Bowa and Sandberg to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. The Phillies felt they did not have a position at which to play Sandberg, and felt compelled to trade Bowa following a bitter contract dispute. Green astutely demanded the Phillies include Sandberg in the trade.
”I would think he would make a great fit for us,” Green said. “We raised him. He’s been let down by Chicago a good bit. He’s a little bit bitter about that. … When he didn’t get the job, I called him and commiserated with him. I knew he was disappointed. I still personally think he should be a big league guy if that’s what he really wants to do. I love the guy. He’s got a great work ethic. I haven’t watched him recently, but I think he’s going to be a good teacher – he was always a student of the game.”
Pat Gillick, who remains a senior advisor to Amaro, recommended to Sandberg recently that he should interview for big league coaching jobs. It would provide the sort of institutional memory that the Phillies front office seeks. If Sandberg cannot find a big league managerial or coaching vacancy — only the Pirates and Mets are without managers — the IronPigs might make sense for him – as a potential successor to Charlie Manuel.
The Phillies have been looking for a first base coach since Davey Lopes left the organization, but Philadelphia could be getting close to hiring Juan Samuel. Speculation abounds that beleaguered third base coach Sam Perlozzo may not be returning for 2011 in favor of the aforementioned Larry Bowa. Always a Philadelphia favorite, Bowa has coached and managed the Phillies in addition to stints with the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers. Negotiations with Bowa are not public knowledge as yet but Green remains close with all three candidates. It had been expected Samuel would rejoin the Baltimore Orioles next season as their third-base coach, but sources feel Samuel could be headed back to Philadelphia. Samuel’s ties to the organization and his baserunning prowess would uniquely qualify him to be a replacement for Lopes.
”We’ve been in touch with the Phillies, just very recently,” said Samuel’s agent, Rex Gary. “I don’t know where it’s going to go, but there’s obviously a position and Juan Samuel is still available. We’ll see. We’ve been in touch with other teams, too. We have indeed spoken with the Phillies.”
Bringing back any combination of Bowa, Sandberg and Samuel would tie the currently unheralded Phillies success with teams from their past – both glory days of the late 1970s-Early 1980 as well as years of futility. Samuel suffered through the middle and latter part of the 1980′s only seeing the postseason as a rookie in 1983. Bowa played for the Phillies from 1970-1981 and won athe franchise’s first World Championship in 1980. Bowa then returned to manage the team from 2001-2004.
**=Outfielder/1B Von Hayes was originally acquired in 1982 by the Phillies in a “five-for-one” trade with the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Manny Trillo, George Vukovich, Jay Baller, Jerry Willard and Julio Franco. Ironically, Trillo and Franco were two of the players preventing Ryne Sandberg from a path to a full-time job with the Phillies. Manny Trillo, George Vukovich, Jay Baller, Jerry Willard, and Julio Franco.
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org