Darwin Barney said he didn't know his former mentor, Ryne Sandberg, became a major-league manager until after Barney helped the Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-0 Friday.
"I just found out two seconds ago," Barney said. "I'm really happy for him. He's done every step of the way to get there. He didn't cut any corners. He didn't hop on with a buddy at the big-league level. He wanted to be a manager, so he wanted to learn how to manage in the minor leagues. Watching his growth every year was kind of fun."
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The Philadelphia Phillies named Sandberg their interim manager Friday as they fired Charlie Manuel. Sandberg came through the Phillies system as a player but carved out a Hall of Fame career with the Cubs.
He began managing in the Cubs system at Class A Peoria and rode the buses for two years there before moving up to Class AA Tennessee. He managed at Triple-A Iowa in 2010, but was bypassed for the Cubs' big-league job after Lou Piniella left. Former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry went with Mike Quade instead, and Sandberg left for the Phillies organization.
Barney crossed paths with Sandberg at all three stops. Like Sandberg, Barney became a Gold Glove second baseman.
What did Sandberg impart to Barney?
"Gosh, there are a lot of things," Barney said. "I think the main thing is his competitive nature, the way he prepared for every game, even as a manager. He didn't say too much when things weren't needed to be said. When he did say things, you definitely listened because they were very timely and to the point.
"I think he became a players manager pretty quick, but a guy you want to go to battle with, and that's the kind of manager who makes you feel that way."