Ryne Sandberg leaves Cubs
CHICAGO -- After being passed over for the Chicago Cubs managerial job, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg will not be back with the organization next season.
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Sandberg, who managed the past four seasons in the Cubs' minor-league system, finished runner-up to former interim manager Mike Quade, who was hired on Oct. 19.
"I don't think it was ever in his plans to be in the minor leagues after this year," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "Whatever opportunities he looks to is up to him. He'll always be welcome here. He knows that for the future, if he chooses he wants to come to spring training, that would be great. If he wants to pursue opportunities with someone else that would be up to him."
After learning he lost out to Quade for the managerial spot, Sandberg admitted he was disappointed and said he needed time to digest the news and weigh his options. He said he believes he's ready to manage in the major leagues.
"There's no good-bye. He's a Cub. He'll be a Cub for life," Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said Wednesday on "The Afternoon Saloon" on ESPN 1000. "If he would like to explore some options with other teams to pursue some other opportunities that doesn't really change anything with respect to what he has accomplished for the team or what he means to the team. If that's his decision then I wish him all the best, and he's a Cub forever."
Quade led the Cubs to a 24-13 record over the final six weeks after Lou Piniella retired, a strong finish to a disappointing season in which Chicago finished 75-87 and in next-to-last place in the NL Central. The Cubs decided to stick with him, promoting a longtime minor league manager who had spent the past four years as their third base coach.
Quade rounded out his coaching staff on Wednesday when the team officially announced the hiring of Pat Listach as bench coach and Dave Keller as a major league staff assistant. Five members from last year's coaching staff return: pitching coach Larry Rothschild, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, bullpen coach Lester Strode, third base coach Ivan DeJesus and first base coach Bob Dernier.
A franchise icon, Sandberg worked his way up in the Cubs' system from Class-A to Triple-A, and was the Pacific Coast League manager of the Year this season after Iowa went 82-62.
The Cubs invited Sandberg to return to manage Iowa in 2011, but he declined.
"The Iowa decision was totally his," Hendry said. "We gave him as much time on his decision as he needed to. He'll always be a beloved Cub and hopefully we'll hook up in the capacity he feels appropriate in the near future."
Sandberg was a 10-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove second baseman for the Cubs. He won the 1984 NL MVP Award while leading Chicago to the NL East title and its first playoff appearance since 1945, before the Cubs lost to San Diego in the league championship series.
Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.