Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg will revisit the past as he leads his team into Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs this weekend. But, his feelings about a fellow Cubs' mentor (and Phillies' alumni) indicate that another retro play could soon be seen.
Larry Bowa was in position as the Phillies shortstop when Sandberg made his major league debut in 1981. With Mike Schmidt at third base and Manny Trillo at second base, the young 'Ryno' had no place to go, which is part of the reason why Philadelphia put his name on a list of seven players the Cubs could choose from as part of the infamous Bowa-Ivan De Jesus trade in 1982.
Sandberg started at third base for the Cubs during his first season in Chicago before making a permanent shift to second base in 1983. Through the years this Hall of Famer has long credited Bowa, who was his double play partner through 1985, as the mentor who helped to teach him the game.
Natural speculation that Sandberg will add Bowa to his coaching staff in the offseason presupposes two main points: Sandberg will have the interim tag removed from his managerial title and that 'Bo' will pass through the Phillies' front office checkpoint.
Bowa, who works for the MLB Network and serves as a part-time Phillies' postgame analyst, has never ruled out returning to uniform, including those familiar red pinstripes. Because of the relationship he's maintained with Sandberg and the previous positive stints seen other managers, number 10 would likely be a good fit on the 2014 coaching staff in some capacity.
Philadelphia just completed a post-Bowa cycle, where his replacement (Charlie Manuel) was let go. So, approving the addition of their former infielder, coach and manager to Sanberg's staff isn't a no-brainer. However, it makes sense.
Sandberg's seemingly tactful style would be supplemented by a veteran baseball man who pulls no punches, but also isn't the top dog. Possibly, this 1980s' infield duo will soon reunite inside their original baseball employer's dugout.