There is plenty of talk of Ryne Sandberg replacing the retiring Lou Piniella. Sandberg actually interviewed for the position four years ago before Lou was hired. But the Cubs wanted him to have some experience, so four the past four years, Ryno has managed at A (2007-2008), AA (2009), and AAA (2010). He appears to have done alright. The players seem to have nothing but good things to say.
I took this picture in 2007 when Sandberg's Peoria Chiefs were visiting the West Michigan Whitecaps
Here he is signing a baseball for WW Jr.
But can a Hall of Fame player be a good manager?
Since 1980, only one player elected to the Hall has even become a manager. It seems like the rest don't want to bother. Frank Robinson was the only one to be a manager, and even his situation isn't typical. He was a player/manager, so he had the job before being elected to the Hall.
Robinson's managerial career was steady but unspectacular. He managed for a total of 16 seasons but none of his teams ever finished in first place. His career record is 1065-1176, a .475 winning percentage.
The fact that Sandberg was willing to ride buses for the past four years tells us something about his desire and drive. He obviously was willing to do whatever it would take to get the Cubs job. But wanting a job and doing well at that job are two different things.
I think the biggest positive thing Sandberg has going for himself is lack of an overinflated ego. He was quiet and unassuming as a player and I think those traits will help him relate to his players. And as a hall of famer, you would think his players would see him as someone credible and whose opinion they would value.
It will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out. Personally, I'd like to see him given the chance.