The Phillies aren’t going to part with Ryne Sandberg twice. The 130-year-old franchise has removed the interim manager tag, which has preceded the Hall of Famer’s name since he replaced Charlie Manuel last month.
“We feel that Ryne has the qualities and leadership skills that are essential to move our club and our organization forward,” GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. said. “Ryne’s six years as a minor league manager, Hall of Fame credentials and work ethic warrant this opportunity.”
Removing the interim tag was only a formality. There was little doubt that Sandberg would be around in 2014. Sandberg isn’t as vocal or folksy as Manuel, but the players like Ryno.
Kevin Frandsen, who also played for Sandberg when he managed Lehigh Valley, gives him a big thumbs up.
“He’s great to play for,” Frandsen said. “I liked playing for him there and up here. He has a great baseball mind. He’s also a great communicator. He should be manager of a major league team. He is a sharp guy.”
Sandberg commands respect and has issued more demands.
“The Phillies have definitely played harder since Sandberg became manager,” a NL scout said. “They play with more spirit and spunk.”
Entering Sunday’s game, the Phillies were 18-16 under Sandberg. That’s the sixth-best record in the National League.
Sandberg paid uncommon dues for a Hall of Famer. Sandberg beat the bushes in Peoria in the low minors despite being a Chicago Cubs icon.
“As it turns out, it was the right path,” Sandberg said. “Riding the buses, staying in the motels, being with the 18 and 19-year olds, teaching them how to be professionals was good for me.”
Sandberg, who was part of the worst trade in Phillies history when he was tossed into the Larry Bowa-Ivan DeJesus deal a generation ago, can comfortably access talent for next season.
“I like Ryne Sandberg a lot,” Bowa said. “It definitely is time for him to be a big league manager. He has what it takes, no question.”