Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Larry Bowa will be Ryne Sandberg's bench coach

Larry Bowa will be Sandberg's bench coach, the Phillies announced Tuesday. The hire is not a surprise; one team source said Bowa long jockeyed for the role. Ryne Sandberg considers Bowa one of his closest confidants in the game.

Larry Bowa will be Ryne Sandberg's bench coach

0 comments
Former Phillies manager Larry Bowa. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)
Former Phillies manager Larry Bowa. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

They ate lunch before every game. A discussion, naturally, about the day's pitcher arose. Later, when nine innings of work were complete, the two men traded together from Philadelphia to Chicago, shared a beer.

"He took me under his wing and taught me everything about the game," Ryne Sandberg said last month about Larry Bowa, and it is not difficult to understand why Sandberg wants Bowa by his side in the infancy of his major-league managing career just as he was there when the two played.

Bowa will be Sandberg's bench coach, the Phillies announced Tuesday. The hire is not a surprise; one team source said Bowa long jockeyed for the role. Sandberg considers Bowa one of his closest confidants in the game.

For the Phillies, the decision was not as simple. Bowa departed this organization on shaky terms when he was fired as manager at the end of the 2004 season. It is likely Sandberg convinced the front office that Bowa's combative personality will fit into his staff without issue.

More coverage
Download FREE Philly Sports Now app for iPhone!
Final season stats for Phillies
Buy Phillies jerseys and other gear
WATCH: Daily fantasy baseball updates
Is Larry Bowa’s hiring as bench coach a good idea?
Yes. He can be Ryne Sandberg’s right-hand man.
No. His fiery personality could disrupt the Phillies.

Bowa, who turns 68 in December, is currently an MLB Network analyst. This would be Bowa's fourth stint with the Phillies. They signed him in 1965 and he played shortstop from 1970-81. He served as a coach from 1988-96. And he managed to a .522 winning percentage from 2001-04.

Sandberg has three openings on his staff __ pitching coach, bench coach and third-base coach. Mick Billmeyer, who was dismissed as catching coach, served as the Phillies' de facto bench coach in 2013.

One of Bowa's tasks will be motivating Jimmy Rollins in his twilight years. The two men have mutual respect for one another. Sandberg has stressed the need for improved pregame preparation by his players. He learned many of his tactics from Bowa. They were traded by the Phillies in 1982 to the Cubs for Ivan de Jesus.

"The four years that I was with him, I really learned a lot about the game," Sandberg said. "... How to play catch right, working hand-in-hand pregame at shortstop, double play combinations, all that. That went a long way."

Sandberg used one of Bowa's bats for the first of his 2,386 hits in a Hall of Fame career. Now, the two friends will come full circle.


Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer's beat writers and columnists.

Jake Kaplan Inquirer Staff Writer
Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
Matt Breen Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter