Among the many blunders in their long history which includes a century-plus long drought without winning a World Series, this move could prove to be another one of those situations. Theo Epstein, the Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations, made his first move by firing manager Mike Quade. Epstein went onto say that former Cubs icon and hall of famer Ryne Sandberg would not be considered for the position. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are interested and have received permission from the Philadelphia Phillies, (where Sandberg managed their minor league AAA-club this year) to bring him in for an interview.
This would be yet another way for the Cardinals to stick it to their rivals from the North Side. For Sandberg to not even be considered a candidate and then to manage for the rival team…to put this in perspective that a Cardinals fan could appreciate, it would be like Ozzie Smith leaving St. Louis to join the Cubs. Sandberg is a Cubs icon.
Just before the Cubs hired Lou Piniella, Sandberg expressed interest in managing and threw his hat in the ring for the Cubs job. At the time, then GM Jim Hendry felt Sandberg needed some experience and he worked his way through the Cubs’ minor-league system and was eventually named manager at Class AAA Iowa in 2010. He won the Pacific Coast League manager of the year award after the team finished first in its division. Sandberg was passed over for the Cubs job this past season and moved onto Philadelphia.
Sandberg was a 10-time All-Star and won nine Gold Gloves during his 16-year career with the Cubs and Phillies. He finished his Hall of Fame career with a .285 batting average, 282 home runs, 1,061 RBIs and 344 stolen bases. When he retired, his 277 homers as a second baseman were a major league record. Perhaps the game that put him on the national map was June 23, 1984 when Sandberg homered twice of Cardinals Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter to tie a game that the Cubs eventually won in 11 innings. The Cubs won the division that year and Sandberg was named most valuable player.
In addition to Sandberg, the other names that are circulating as possible replacements for La Russa include Jose Oquendo, the Cardinals third base coach, former Gold Glove catcher Mike Matheny, White Sox coach Joe McEwing, Chris Maloney, who manages Triple-A Memphis and former Red Sox manager Terry Francona.