Ryno Era Officially Begins

First came a 9:47 a.m. e-mail media alert from the communications department saying there would be a “press conference to announce news from the Phillies” at 11:30 a.m. in the Media Room at Citizens Bank Park. Eight minutes later Ruben sent a confidential e-mail to the baseball administration department and vice presidents saying we have reached an agreement to name Ryne Sandberg the manager officially. Announcement would be made later in the morning.

No longer would Ryno carry that interim title. He’s now the 52nd manager in the history of the Phillies. And, he’s the fourth to play, coach and manage the Phillies, joining Gavvy Cravath, Hans Lobert and his close friend, Larry Bowa.

Selecting 23rd in the 1978 draft, the Phillies grabbed RHP Rip Rollins. Not exactly a Hall of Famer but none of the first-round picks that June have landed in Cooperstown.

On the 20th round, the Phillies chose INF Ryne Sandberg, North Central High School, Spokane, WA, where he was a star baseball player and highly recruited quarterback. Three years later, he made his major league debut with the Phillies.
He is the only player selected by the Phillies in the entire draft that year who had any kind of a big league career.

In the minors, he played most of his games at shortstop, a position that was blocked on the major league level by Larry Bowa. With Manny Trillo at second base and Mike Schmidt at third, Ryno faced more road blocks. GM Paul Owens wasn’t sure where Ryno would play in the majors. Begin a gifted athlete, the Pope entertained thoughts of making him a centerfielder. But, Garry Maddox was there, the secretary of Defense.

When Dallas Green went to the Cubs as their president, he traded for Bowa and asked that Ryno also be included in the deal. Ryno played third base in his first full season with the Cubs (1983). He moved to second base the following year and ended as a Hall of Famer.

To Ryno’s credit, he went to the minors to be schooled as a manager, something very few Hall of Famers have ever done. He endured long bus rides for six minor league seasons before starting this season as a big league coach. Five of his teams had winning records.

So, a new era in Phillies baseball officially begins.

Lost Weekend
While the news off the field was good, on the field wasn’t as the Mets swept all three games. Lack of clutch hitting, pitching mistakes and shaky defense all played a role in the three losses.

For the first time since 2002, the Phillies will finish with a losing record. Once before the Phillies went 10 years without a losing record, 1975-84.

After yesterday’s loss, a Delta charter flight carried the team to Miami and the start of the final road trip and final seven games, three vs. Marlins and four against the division champion Braves.

This Date
September 23, 1916–RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander pitches 7-3 and 4-0 complete-game wins over Cincinnati at Baker Bowl and ties a major league record by walking only one batter. Almost a year later (September 3) he does it again, 5-0 and 9-3, at Brooklyn, allowing one walk.

September 23, 1945, 2nd game–Hall of Fame-bound 1B Jimmie Foxx, the Philadelphia A’s all-time home run leader (302) and now with the Phillies, ends his 20-year career in a 4-3 loss at Brooklyn. Foxx also pitches in nine games that season, a first in his career.

September 23, 1965, 1st game–RHP Jim Bunning’s fifth-inning strikeout is his 242nd of the season, breaking the club record held by RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander (241, 1915). Bunning wins, 11-5, at Wrigley Field.

September 23, 1983–A 6-2, 12-strikeout victory at St. Louis gives LHP Steve Carlton his 300th career win, the 16th pitcher in baseball history to reach that milestone.

Fine-ally
The NFL is the only pro sport to issue weekly injury reports and fines. Last week the fines for players with illegal hits, blocks and throwing punches totaled a shocking $177,250.

Perhaps the NFL should change its name to National Fine League.

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