|His number is flying on the freaking flag pole. But, yeah, Sandberg needs to pay his dues.|
When the news broke yesterday about Ryne Sandberg’s departure from the Chicago Cubs organization, a grand total of 0.00 people were surprised. But Kevin Goldstein (and at least 10 other people who felt the urge to retweet the sentiment verbatim) deemed Sandberg’s rejection of his old job as manager of the AAA Iowa Cubs to be a petty move, even for a Hall-of-Famer.
Sandberg spent just 4 yrs as minor league mgr and quits because he doesn’t get the MLB job. Insult to those that actually paid their dues.
What’s truly insulting is the insinuation that Ryne Sandberg has not paid his dues to whatever association is currently collecting that payment. If it’s the fraternal order of minor league baseball managers, four years isn’t a ton of time. Still, if it doesn’t qualify as paying his dues, Sandberg’s four-year stint has to at least cover the initial registration fee.
Or did he not pay his dues to the Chicago Cubs? Fifteen seasons. Ten as an All-Star. One MVP. Nine Gold Gloves. Seven Silver Sluggers. Sixty-two wins above replacement. I’d say the four years managing in the minors was overkill as far as his Cubs dues are concerned.
No, I’m sure what Goldstein was getting at must have been the dues required to be a major league manager. So I decided to take a look at the current roster of managers and see who has paid what, especially in the currencies of minor league coaching/managing, major league coaching, and major league playing time before landing their first full-time MLB managing job.
|Name||Mgr in Minors||MLB Coach||MLB Player|
|Bob Geren||9 (on and off)||4||5|
|Joe Maddon||13 (plus scouting)||10||0|
|John Farrell||0 (some front office work)||4||5+|
|Edwin Rodriguez||12||0||0+ yrs (11 games)|
|Tony LaRussa||2 (more as player/coach)||0||3+ (132 games in 6 seasons)|
|Bud Black*||0 (front office, 1 yr MiL pitching coach)||2||14+|
*10 or more years as MLB Player
In terms of paying his dues to become a manager, Ryne Sandberg has done it, especially if you look at the seven guys with at least 10 full seasons in the big leagues. Of those seven, only Mike Scioscia spent any time managing in the minors and that was only one year.
Sandberg has as much or more minor league managing time as 7 of the other guys, but none of them approach Sandberg’s major-league service time. Francona and Washington each had 10 partial seasons in the bigs (my cutoff for a full season was 10 games, so it’s not like I’m being all that strict) and each of them logged exactly 4 seasons of minor league managerial time.
If we’re talking strictly minor league service time, and Goldstein obviously was, Sandberg has more than paid his dues. The amount of time his HOF butt spent on minor-league buses is unprecedented. That doesn’t mean the Cubs owed him the job, but any more time in the minors would have been an insult to himself. Yeah, he could have done it, but he doesn’t owe anybody anything else in that capacity. The fact that he did it at all was, compared to other managers with his player credentials, well beneath his status.
The difference, obviously, is in the time coaching at the big-league level. I’d argue that being a major-league coach is the most overrated credential on any managerial candidate’s résumé, but MLB obviously disagrees. And that’s not really the point. Maybe Ryno does need to spend a few seasons as an MLB coach, but that’s all he ever should have had to do in the first place. The question is, did Ryne Sandberg pay his dues?
The answer is an emphatic, Hell yeah.