Phillies go with Ryne Sandberg

The Philadelphia Phillies have removed the "interim" tag on Ryne Sandberg and say he will return as manager in 2014 with a three-year contract through 2016 and a club option for 2017.

The club announced the move Sunday morning before its final home game of the season, against the New York Mets.

"We feel that Ryne has the qualities and leadership skills that are essential to move our club and our organization forward," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. "Ryne's six years as a minor league manager, Hall of Fame credentials and work ethic warrant this opportunity."

The Phillies have gone 18-16 under Sandberg since the firing of longtime manager Charlie Manuel on Aug. 16. They had lost 19 of 22 games before Manuel's firing.

Sandberg, 53, is the only Hall of Fame player currently managing in the major leagues and will be the first full-time manager who had a Hall of Fame playing career since Frank Robinson served as the manager of the Expos and Nationals from 2002-06.

Before being promoted in October as third-base coach and infield instructor, Sandberg had spent two seasons managing Philadelphia's Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The Phillies (71-83), who stand 20 games back in the NL East behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves, won five straight NL East titles and the 2008 World Series title before a slew of injuries contributed to an 81-81 finish last season, snapping their string of winning seasons at nine.

Sandberg began his career with the Phillies, getting one hit in six at-bats in 1981. He then was traded to the Chicago Cubs when general manager Dallas Green, who managed the Phillies to the 1980 World Series title, convinced his former team to throw Sandberg into a trade along with shortstop Larry Bowa for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.

Sandberg was the 1984 NL MVP, made 10 All-Star teams and was enshrined in Cooperstown in 2005. He managed four seasons in Chicago's minor league system before coming back to the Phillies. Sandberg interviewed with the St. Louis Cardinals last winter but was rebuffed by the Cubs.

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Jayson Stark and The Associated Press was used in this report.