Ryne Sandberg was the no doubt heir apparent to be the next manager for the Chicago Cubs.

After putting together a Hall of Fame playing career for the Cubs, Sandberg remained in the organization as a manager in the minor league and was being groomed to one day return to Wrigley Field as the Cubs’ skipper.

Ryne Sandberg is leaving the Chicago Cubs organization after being passed over for the team's managerial job. Sandberg, who had spent four seasons as a manager in the minors for the Cubs, was beat out by Mike Quade for the manager job.

Except when the time came to name a manager, the Cubs passed up a chance to hit a home run to go with a person that guided the team to a winning record over the final six weeks of the season. That decision has cost the Cubs to lose one of the all-time icons of their organization as he looks to pursue managerial opportunities in the majors. Sandberg announced on Thursday that he wouldn’t return to the organization and turned down the opportunity to return to Triple-A Iowa as a manager.

The Cubs are saying that Sandberg is welcome to return to the organization at any point and to help out, but it shouldn’t have come to the two parties having to part ways. Sandberg should have been the guy to get a chance to lead a franchise that hasn’t won a World Series title in more than 100 years.

Sandberg not only was groomed to be a manager but had established the credentials. He worked his way through the Cubs system, learning the ropes of being a manager. He began at Single-A Peoria where he spent two seasons before spending a year at Double-A Tennessee and this past summer at Triple-A Iowa. He was the Pacific Coast League’s manager of the year after guiding the Iowa Cubs to an 82-62 record – a mark that was good for a first-place finish. He had winning records in three of his four seasons in the minors.

Hiring him as the manager would have made perfect sense especially since he already has relationships with many of the players who have come up through the system. Instead the Cubs passed up one of their own for Mike Quade, who led Chicago to a 24-13 mark over the final six weeks of the regular season. Players seem to like Quade, which likely went a long way toward him earning the manager job.

For the Cubs sake, they better get off to a great start next season. If they don’t, it will likely be a public relations nightmare for Jim Hendry – especially since they passed over a person they groomed. And if Sandberg does indeed get a job and is able to have success, it would be another horrible move by a franchise that is cursed.