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Bowa returned to the Phillies as the team's third base coach on August 11, 1988 and remained there through the 1996 season.In 1993, he and John Vukovich became the first two Phillies in franchise history to go to the World Series with the club as both a player and coach (Vukovich was Bowa's teammate on the 1980 World Champions and was the bench coach for the '93 National League champs.At the beginning of the 1985 season, Bowa lost the Cubs' starting shortstop job to Shawon Dunston, which left the 39-year-old Bowa discontented with the Cubs' organization; after becoming the San Diego Padres' manager in 1987, Bowa vented his frustrations with the Cubs in an autobiography, titled "Bleep!" After being released by the Cubs in August 1985, Bowa played the last month of the season with the New York Mets before retiring.Bowa batted .333 in a losing cause in the 1978 NLCS, but played an even greater role in 1980, hitting .316 in the NLCS and .375 in the World Series as the Phillies captured the first title in franchise history.In 1979, Bowa set a Major League record for shortstops with a .991 fielding average; Tony Fernández broke the record with a .992 mark in 1989, and Rey Ordóñez broke the NL record with a .994 average in 1999.After retiring, Bowa was named manager of the Las Vegas Stars, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, for the 1986 season.

They sent a local scout, Eddie Bockman to watch Bowa play in a doubleheader, only for Bowa to be thrown out of the game for arguing.

In return, the Phillies received shortstop Iván De Jesús.

The trade paid off tremendously for the Cubs, as Bowa's veteran leadership and Sandberg's outstanding all-around play (en route to a Hall of Fame career) brought the Cubs to the postseason in 1984 for the first time in 39 years.

Taking over a team that had gone 65-97 in 2000, Bowa led the club to a surprising 86-76 mark in 2001, two games behind the National League East Champion Atlanta Braves.

Bowa was honored as National League Manager of the Year and also received the Sporting News NL Manager of the Year Award that year.

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