Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Smokies' Sandberg Working Up Ladder; Hall of Famer Is in His First Season Managing in Double-A

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Smokies' Sandberg Working Up Ladder; Hall of Famer Is in His First Season Managing in Double-A

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT

After a tough 7-5 loss to the Jacksonville Suns on Sunday, Tennessee Smokies manager Ryne Sandberg took his seat in the team's charter bus, trying to get comfortable for the nine-hour ride back to Kodak, Tenn., about 30 miles outside of Knoxville.

For Sandberg and the Smokies, the ride would probably have felt a little shorter had they protected a 4-0 first-inning lead against the Suns.

But Jacksonville scored three runs in both the third and sixth innings and used a strong performance by its bullpen to win in front of 4,844 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

It proved to be another learning experience for Sandberg, who spent 16 years in the major leagues, 15 as the beloved second baseman of the Chicago Cubs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. He's in his first season as manager of the Smokies, having managed at Class-A Peoria the two previous seasons.

Some might wonder why Sandberg, who made close to $25 million during his playing career, would want to start over at the lowest level. That's what Sandberg did in Peoria.

"I look at this like a ballplayer, where it's best to start at the bottom and work your way up by putting your time in," he said. "You learn along the way, and you have experiences where you fail. I think I started at a perfect spot in A ball. There were a lot of things that I had to learn, which is probably surprising to some people."

When Sandberg retired after the 1997 season, he stayed with the Cubs organization as a hitting instructor for eight seasons.

The Cubs then gave him his first managerial position, with Peoria.

"Being a manager, my eyes really opened up," he said. "It was more about looking at the whole field and the positioning of our infielders and outfielders, looking at the other dugout, knowing their hitters and runners. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.