By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (PA) — 30 years ago, Ryne Sandberg was a young utility infielder trying to make his way through the Phillies organization. With a logjam in the big leagues at those positions, Sandberg was dealt to the Chicago Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. The rest is Phillies and Cubs history. Better for the Cubs than the Phillies.
It’s come full circle for him because today, as manager of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Sandberg’s job is to develop young players in the Phillies organization.
On the 30th anniversary of the “worst trade in Phillies history” as Anthony Gargano called it, Sandberg spoke to Gargano and Glen Macnow on 94 WIP about the trade that changed the course of his life and both organizations, as well as some of the Phillies young prospects.
“I don’t think it really all came about until 1984 and I won the National League MVP and got a silver glove and a bat,” Sandberg joked when talking about a trade that he’s been asked about since the day it happened. “Throughout my career, whether playing the Phillies at home or at the Vet, I often did pregame shows, and that’s all they wanted to talk about. So I’ve been talking about that trade for years,” he said.
During the off-season, Sandberg’s name was the subject of more than a few rumors linked to managerial openings in Major League Baseball, one of which was the Chicago Cubs, where he played his entire major league career. The Cubs decided to go in a different direction, and Sandberg still isn’t sure why. “They didn’t hire me two years in a row. I was out there. For whatever reason, I don’t have the answer.” Sandberg made it clear he’s very happy where he is with the Phillies.
One of the players Sandberg is developing is Freddy Galvis, usually considered the heir apparent to Jimmy Rollins.
“Freddy made a great stride last year. He turned out to be the best regular player we had on the whole field. He’s a very heads up player, he’s right there with the manager, thinking the game of baseball,” Sandberg said. “He does all the little things. That’s drag bunting, checking the defense, taking what the defense gives you, gap to gap hitting. He really stepped in and like I said, was probably our best regular player the last month of the season and into the playoffs. I think he’ll really get a serious look from the major league club.”
While Galvis hasn’t played a major league game yet, outfield prospect Domonic Brown has been up and down a couple of times, with mixed results. Sandberg said a lot of Brown’s trouble was circumstantial, “he was in my opinion, forced into the major leagues because he was the best player available. For a young player to go up to the major leagues and sit for a little bit, and platoon, and spot start, and pinch hit and things like that. He did the best that he could, and he did what the Phillies asked.” Whether it’s in Philadelphia or the minors, Sandbgerg said some consistency would be best for Brown, “I see him needing a good strong amount of at-bats in a row, whether that’s with me at Triple A. He’s going to spring training with a shot once again. He’s another guy who will hopefully be ready in an emergency situation.”
LISTEN TO THE THROWBACK THURSDAY INTERVIEW WITH RYNE SANDBERG:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/nyc.podcast.play.it/media/d0/d0/d0/dZ/dP/dT/d0/ZPT0_3.MP3?authtok=5561678133510535790_RhB4W4VIGHLNfNmMEfkDjvSBHC0