Today In Philly Sports History: Ryne Sandberg's Phillies Debut, 1981

Today In Philly Sports History: Ryne Sandberg's Phillies Debut, 1981

Ryne Sandberg's career of accomplishments have earned him a place in the hall of fame and the status of being one of the best second basemen in the history of the game. He won nine Gold Gloves, smacked an NL-tops 40 homers in 1990 (just the third second baseman to ever hit 40+ in a season), and led the league in runs three times (including in his MVP 1984 season, when he helped get the Cubs to their first post-season appearance in four decades). The only real problem with Sandberg's career is that he did all these things for the wrong team--the Chicago Cubs, for which he would become the face of the franchise. He very easily could have done many if not all of these things for the team that drafted him--the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he made his professional debut on September 2nd, 1981.

Sandberg's debut came in the top of the ninth inning of a game in Atlanta, where he was used as a pinch-runner for catcher Bob Boone. With the score knotted at 1-1, Sandberg came around to score the go-ahead run on a single by first baseman Pete Rose. The advantage was unfortunately nullified in the bottom of the inning, with Phils reliever Warren Brusstar giving up two runs on a single by Eddie Miller and a sac fly by Jerry Royster, giving the Braves a 3-2 victory. The pinch-running appearance was representative of the 13 games Sandberg played in a Phillies uniform in 1981--with second base, third base and shortstop plugged by Manny Trillo, Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa, manager Dallas Green had little use for the scrappy middle infielder in his starting lineup. Sandberg would not start a game for the Phils after a call-up, and only got one hit wearing the P--in the midst of a 14-0 blowout at the hands of the Cubs.

Green may not have played Sandberg much, but he clearly recognized the talent, since after he became the GM of the Cubs for the next season, he engineered a trade of slick-fielding shortstop Ivan DeJesus for the Phils' aging Bowa--with the young Sandberg as a throw-in. With the Cubs, Sandberg shifted to the keystone position, and became a Windy City legend. DeJesus's career .637 OPS for the Phils added insult to injury, ensuring that the trade would go down as not only one of the worst the Phillies ever made, but one of the worst in the history of all the majors.

NBA Notes: Magic Johnson takes over Lakers, trades Lou Williams

NBA Notes: Magic Johnson takes over Lakers, trades Lou Williams

With the Los Angeles Lakers mired in the worst years in franchise history, owner Jeanie Buss has turned to Magic Johnson to lead them back to championship contention.

And she removed her own brother from his job to do it.

Jeanie Buss fired general manager Mitch Kupchak on Tuesday and put Johnson in charge of basketball operations. Jim Buss also was dismissed as the Lakers' executive vice president of basketball operations in a major shake-up of the struggling team's front office.

Jim Buss retains his ownership stake in the team, but Jeanie Buss has final say under the structure set up by their late father, Jerry Buss. She used it to chart a new course for the 16-time NBA champion franchise, which has the NBA's third-worst record at 19-39.

The Lakers are almost certain to miss the playoffs for a team-record fourth straight season, and they posted the worst record in team history during each of the previous three years.

"It was such a hard to decision to make, that I probably waited too long," Jeanie Buss said in an interview on Spectrum SportsNet, the Lakers' television network. "For that, I apologize to Laker fans. Now, with clarity and direction, and after talking with Earvin, a change was needed" (see full story).

Lakers: Deal reached to trade Williams to Rockets
The Los Angeles Lakers have swung their first deal of the Magic Johnson Era, agreeing to send Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a future draft pick.

Brewer's agent Wallace Prather confirmed the terms of the trade, which were first reported Tuesday by Yahoo Sports. Neither team immediately revealed the trade publicly.

"Thanx for the love L.A., I've enjoyed my stay," Williams wrote on Twitter.

Williams led the Lakers in scoring at 18.6 points per game, playing off the bench. Brewer was averaging 4.2 points for Houston.

The trade came hours after the Lakers announced the firing of general manager Mitch Kupchak and put Johnson in charge of basketball operations -- part of a massive front office shake-up.

And while the draft pick will help the Lakers' future, the Rockets just got deeper (see full story).

Grizzlies: Healthy roster for stretch run
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies' latest injury reports need a second glance, they appear a bit suspect.

Nobody is listed as hurt or nursing an injury. If someone is out, it's simply for rest.

No knee problems requiring forward Chandler Parsons to sit. No ankle issues for reserve forward Brandan Wright. No lingering problems from point guard Mike Conley's broken back earlier this season, and no more groin issues for defensive stalwart Tony Allen.

There's not even foot problems for All-Star center Marc Gasol.

Having no injuries to report is a relief for a team that has been hit hard the last two years. The Grizzlies are 34-24 and sixth in the Western Conference heading down the stretch.

"I think our chemistry is starting to come," forward Zach Randolph said. "Guys are starting to fill into their roles and starting to play a lot better, especially on the defensive end."

It was just a year ago on Feb. 20, 2016, that Gasol had season-ending surgery to repair his broken right foot, sending the Grizzlies spiraling into a historical season for injuries that finished with Memphis using an NBA-record 28 players . Memphis limped into its sixth consecutive playoff appearance and was mercifully swept out of the first round by the San Antonio Spurs (see full story).

Report: Jahlil Okafor 'will get moved by Thursday'

Report: Jahlil Okafor 'will get moved by Thursday'

Will Jahlil Okafor be traded?

That is the big question surrounding the Sixers as Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline inches closer.

According to one report, there’s already an answer.

Appearing on NBA TV Tuesday night, NBA.com’s David Aldridge said Okafor “will get moved by Thursday.”

Aldridge, who said the Sixers have “a lot of offers to sift through,” mentioned the Pacers and Kings as potential landing spots. Following the DeMarcus Cousins trade, Sacramento is left with Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein, who aren't offensive bigs. Koufos is averaging 6.1 points in 57 games this season, while Cauley-Stein is scoring 5.8 per game in his second NBA season.

“[The Kings] can offer more minutes and more opportunities for [Okafor] now,” Aldridge said.

According to multiple reports earlier on Tuesday, the Pacers have emerged as a suitor in the Okafor trade talks. Indiana is 29-28 and in sixth place of the Eastern Conference, but only a game ahead of Chicago — also a reported Okafor suitor — and two in front of Detroit.

Through a trying season, the Sixers’ second-year big man is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game. He’s played in 38 contests, 22 of which he has started after playing 53 games (48 starts) as a rookie and averaging 17.5 points and seven rebounds.