CLINTON — Most baseball fans know about Ryne Sandberg’s MVP season in 1984, his 10 all-star appearances and his nine gold gloves.

The question that many have asked is why is “Ryno” managing the Peoria Chiefs?

“Since I retired in 1997 I’ve been a (spring training) instructor with the Cubs,” Sandberg said. “This would have been the eighth or ninth year doing that. It got to the point where it wasn’t enough for me.”

This is Sandberg’s first managerial position.

“This is a different way to approach a game,” he said. “I’m having a great time. There’s a lot to think about. I’m doing the job of about three coaches.”

Sandberg says this level is a perfect fit for him.

“I think it’s a good place to start,” he said. “At A-ball you get to see the future. To get them young like this I get to show them how to be a professional on and off the field. The Midwest League is great. I couldn’t ask for anything else.

“I wanted to get more involved and this opportunity came my way and I jumped all over it. It’s been a good experience. We’ll see where it takes me.”

Even though it’s not Chicago the Midwest League has a certain appeal to Sandberg.

“All these towns seem like an extension of Chicago,” he said. “There’s a lot of Cubs fans everywhere we go.”

Sandberg isn’t planning to be the next Lou Piniella or Joe Torre as a manager.

“I’m not trying to copy anybody. I’m my kind of guy,” he said.

Sandberg enjoys working with the young players at this level.

“These guys are like sponges,” he said. “They want to all the information they can get. Every time I speak they are all eyes and ears.”

Sandberg finds humor in the generation gap between he and his players.

“I have to think sometimes how old I am to them,” he said. “I wear the old-school socks with the stripe on them. They said they were cool and retro, so I called Chicago and they sent 25 of those socks that our players wore for a series in Dayton. I feel like an youngster around them.”

Sandberg and the Chiefs will be in town until Sunday when they finish up their four-game series with the LumberKings.