Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg is used to rapid promotions. And at the rate he's going, he could fulfill his dream of managing in the Majors in the near future.
Sandberg was named the skipper of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs on Monday, replacing Bobby Dickerson. Dickerson was hired by the Baltimore Orioles to be their roving Minor League infield Instructor after leading Iowa to a 72-72 season.
Sandberg eventually hopes to reach the Majors as a manager. Cubs manager Lou Piniella's contract expires after the 2010 season, and Sandberg's name has already been mentioned among the candidates to fill the slot.
"I eventually want to get to the Major Leagues," he told MiLB.com during the season. "This has been a great experience for myself."
In his second season as manager, Sandberg led the Double-A Tennessee Smokies to a first-place finish with a 71-69 record. The Smokies advanced to the Southern League Championship Series, where they fell in four games to the Jacksonville Suns. It was the second consecutive first-place finish for the former Cub, who also led the Class A Peoria Chiefs to a second-half title in 2008.
"You want to remember what that feels like because ultimately that's what it is all about," Sandberg told MiLB.com upon advancing to the Southern League Finals. "It doesn't happen every year to a team."
"You can't replace winning," he added. "At this level, it's all about developing a player. Winning is a big part of developing."
Sandberg's former players praised the former second baseman's skills as a manager.
"He's the kind of manager who expects you to play hard every day," Smokies outfielder James Adduci told MiLB.com at the time. "Practice hard and play hard and whatever happens on the field is going to happen is his motto."