Ryne Sandberg is coming back to the Phillies organization as the manager of the Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies announced today.
"I see this as a tremendous opportunity for me. I'm going back to the roots where I learned to play the game of baseball as a young player," Sandberg said. "In a lot of ways, I feel like a young kid again with this opportunity; reliving the days of almost 35 years ago when I was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, 20th round, signed that June, reported to Helene, Montana and got started in professional baseball ... I couldn't be happier about the situation."
He was originally drafted by the Phillies in 1978 and made his major league debut with the club in 1981, appearing in 13 games before being traded to the Cubs where he went on to a Hall of Fame career.
Sandberg, 51, spent the last four seasons as a manager in the Chicago Cubs' minor league system with single-A Peoria (2007-08), double-A Tennessee (2009) and triple-A Iowa (2010). He led his clubs to two first-place finishes and, overall, has a managerial record of 284-277-1 (.505).
This past season, his first as a triple-A manager, Sandberg was named Manager of the Year in the Pacific Coast League after leading the Iowa Cubs to a tie for the best record in the Northern Division (82-62).
"Ryne impressed us in so many ways, but as we told him at the start of the interviewing process, we weren't going to dwell on his Hall of Fame status," said Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar. "We're here to hire the best Triple-A manager and the best player development person for the Philadelphia Phillies and obviously he is that."
A 2005 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Sandberg was a 10-time National League All-Star and won nine Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger awards during his 16-year career (1981-94, 1996-97).
Sandberg finished his career with a .285 batting average, 282 home runs, 1,061 RBI and 344 stolen bases in 2,164 games. At the time of his retirement, his 277 home runs as a second baseman was a major league record.
The remainder of the Phillies' 2011 player development staff will be announced at a later date.