Ryne Sandberg says he’s not looking for another manager’s job, and he has no ambitions of joining the Cubs’ coaching staff.
As the Hall of Famer made public his reconciliation with the Cubs – first reported in the works last fall by the Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed – the franchise icon said Thursday he’s more than happy just to be home.
Sandberg, 56, will be introduced as the Cubs new community and sponsor “ambassador” at Friday’s opening ceremonies for Cubs Convention just seven months after resigning his manager’s job in Philadelphia in the midst of a front office shakeup and roster purge.
“As we speak it’ll be nothing in uniform,” said Sandberg, who spent all or parts of the past three seasons as the Phillies’ manager (119-159). “It’ll be off the field, and I’m very satisfied with that.”
Sandberg reiterated there were was no fence mending needed between him and a Cubs team that twice – by two different regimes — denied him a big-league managing job after four years rising through the system as a minor-league manager.
“The best part of the whole thing was the Cubs allowed me to go elsewhere and fulfill a dream of managing at the major league level,” said Sandberg, who joined the Phillies as a Class AAA manager before a 2013 promotion to the big-league coaching staff and eventually manager.
“The other thing that they did was they left in place a personal services contract I could come back to any time that I wanted to with open arms. That allowed me to leave and have a chance to manage at the major-league level with some security and knowledge that I’d be welcomed back in some capacity if that ever came about.
“I really appreciated that,” he said.
Sandberg, who met with chairman Tom Ricketts and team president Theo Epstein in August about the possibility of a reunion, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before a Cubs-Cardinals playoff game in October.
“I’m excited about being getting to know the players and being around the guys,” he said. “I got to admire them the last two months of the season, all through the playoffs, and really like what’s been done with the team that’s been put together – not only the ability of the guys and youth and energy, but also the character that the team seems to have.”
He already had planned to move back to the area, where his five grandchildren are (a sixth on the way next month), and the new gig allows plenty of flex time to spend with them, he said.
As for what the 1984 MVP expects when he’s reintroduced to fans Friday night:
“I got a big thrill out of throwing out the first pitch of that first playoff game at Wrigley against the Cardinals; that was something I’ll never forget,” he said. “Chicago and the Chicago Cubs fans have always been a big part of my life and supported me very well. I always get goose bumps at any chance that I get, and I just imagine it’ll be something that brings goose bumps to me.”