Here in Chicago the talk is
If nothing else, Sandberg has earned his shot. Spending four years managing in Peoria, Knoxville and Des Moines, as he has done, shows desire, rather than the sense of entitlement that you might expect of a Hall of Famer who earned around $25 million in salary alone during his playing career. His teams have even done well. Sandberg may never have been an especially inspiring figure during his playing days, and the many interviews that he has given over the past few years may leave one with the suspicion that little rattles in his head past vague notions that things should be done the right way and that creating motion on the bases has some ill-defined connection to winning. But the Cubs could clearly do worse.
Whether they could do better, though, is the issue, and tied up in that is the question of what exactly you can expect from a manager who was a better player than anyone on his team. How can a man who hit an effortless .300 with 25 home runs and a Gold Glove every year for a decade possibly relate to that sad -- and normal -- player for whom every at-bat is a struggle? What can someone who wrung every bit of baseball talent out of himself have in common with, say,
In theory, nothing should be easier. "There is one indispensable quality of a baseball manager,"
The perceived notion that Hall of Fame players tend not to be such strong managers is, in fact, true. It's actually nearly impossible to name such a player who went on to enjoy great dugout success. With an assist from
Overall, this is a pretty dire set of precedents, though one notes that