Hall-of-Famer and iconic second baseman Ryne Sandberg spoke up on Wednesday, one day after Cubs manager Lou Piniella announced his retirement effective after the season. Sandberg, who is currently employed within the Cubs organization as the manager at Triple-A Iowa, said in no uncertain terms that he'd like to be considered to helm the parent club.
"I am ready," Sandberg said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.
And with that statement, the 10-time All-Star officially launched his own candidacy. Sandberg, a nine-time Gold Glover and a seven-time Silver Slugger in his 15-year tenure with the Cubs, has been managing in Chicago's farm system for four seasons. Sandberg currently has Iowa in first place, fueling his optimism that he's ready for a big league perch.
"There is a lot to managing, and with almost four years under my belt, I believe I'm ready," he said. "I'm not interested in on-the-job learning or on-the-job training. At this point, I'm interested in winning ballgames at the Major League level."
Jim Hendry, Chicago's general manager, told reporters on Tuesday that Sandberg would be considered for the job. That news suited the former infielder -- who was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2005 -- just fine. Sandberg said he doesn't expect to win the job, but that he'd love to be considered and that his familiarity with the farm system should be a point in his favor.
"Things have gone very well here in the Minor Leagues," he said of his stewardship. "We have a good Minor League system, as we can see with the younger players coming up. I believe I know these players as well as anybody. I've been around them, I've coached them [and] they're moving up the ranks. There are guys here at Triple-A and Double-A knocking on the door to the big leagues. I believe I know the system very well. It's been a great experience, and I'm ready for that next step."
Sandberg, who could become the second Hall-of-Famer (and first since Ted Williams) to be hired as a big league manager after his induction, said that the Piniella bulletin caught him -- and the rest of the organization -- by surprise.
"It hit here like a wildfire," he said of Tuesday's news. "Lou's been in this game a long time. He's done a lot of things. He's done everything in baseball you can imagine, and he's entitled to retire if he thinks that's what he wants to do."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.