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Born in Spokane, WA on September 18, 1959, Ryne Sandberg went on to become one of the most popular baseball players of the 1980s. He was named after journeyman relief pitcher Ryne Duren, who was called to the mound one fateful night when Sandberg’s parents were debating what to name their unborn child.

In high school Sandberg was a three-sport athlete, playing baseball, football, and basketball. He was such a good football player that Parade magazine named him the best high school quarterback in the country in 1978. Sandberg was offered football scholarships to several universities, but he instead chose to play baseball and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. After working his way through the minors, Sandberg played in 13 games for the Phillies in 1981, mostly as a defensive reserve. He had one hit in six at bats.

In 1982 the Phillies traded their shortstop Larry Bowa to Chicago in exchange for the Cubs shortstop Ivan DeJesus. In order to sweeten the deal, the Phillies threw in their young back-up utility infielder, Ryne Sandberg. This ended up being one of the best trades the Chicago Cubs have ever made. Sandberg immediately became the Cubs starting third baseman and he finished the season hitting .271 and leading the team in stolen bases and runs scored.

After being moved to second base near the end of the 1982 season, Sandberg really began to shine. In 1983 he committed only 13 errors and won the Gold Glove award as the best second baseman in the NL, but his offensive production remained slow. Sandberg gained the national spotlight in 1984, winning his second Gold Glove and leading the Cubs to the NL East title. Sandberg hit .314 and was named the National League MVP. Sandberg quickly became one of the Cubs’ top run producers, almost always leading the team in home runs, RBI’s, and runs scored. He went on to become the most popular Cub of the 1980s and one of the most well known players in all of baseball.

In 1993 the Cubs signed Sandberg to a contract that would pay him close to $6 million a year, in what was then the most lucrative deal in the history of baseball. After suffering a very poor season in 1994, he played in only 57 games and hit .238, Sandberg retired, stating that the game was no longer fun for him. There was much clamoring in the media about the fact he retired after the team had guaranteed him so much money, but Sandberg quickly diffused that by declaring his contract void and giving the Cubs their money back. Sandberg attempted a comeback in 1996 and was a mediocre hitter, but much of the magic was gone and he retired for good after the 1997 season.

Through his career Ryno won 9 straight Gold Gloves from 1983 to 1991. He committed only 120 errors while playing in 2135 games, and ended up having a spectacular .989 career fielding percentage. He was elected to 10 straight All-Star teams from 1984 to 1993, and was the overall leading vote getter in 1988. He hit 40 home runs in 1990 to lead the NL. Sandberg is in second place for all-time home runs by a second baseman with 282, having only recently been passed by Jeff Kent.

Sandberg's final career numbers are:

Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG   TB   SH  SF IBB HBP GDP 
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+---+---+---+---+---+
 1981 21 PHI NL  13    6    2    1   0  0   0    0   0  0   0   1  .167  .167  .167    1   0   0   0   0   0
 1982 22 CHC NL 156  635  103  172  33  5   7   54  32 12  36  90  .271  .312  .372  236   7   5   3   4   7
 1983 23 CHC NL 158  633   94  165  25  4   8   48  37 11  51  79  .261  .316  .351  222   7   5   3   3   8
 1984 24 CHC NL 156  636  114  200  36 19  19   84  32  7  52 101  .314  .367  .520  331   5   4   3   3   7
 1985 25 CHC NL 153  609  113  186  31  6  26   83  54 11  57  97  .305  .364  .504  307   2   4   5   1  10
 1986 26 CHC NL 154  627   68  178  28  5  14   76  34 11  46  79  .284  .330  .411  258   3   6   6   0  11
 1987 27 CHC NL 132  523   81  154  25  2  16   59  21  2  59  79  .294  .367  .442  231   1   2   4   2  11
 1988 28 CHC NL 155  618   77  163  23  8  19   69  25 10  54  91  .264  .322  .419  259   1   5   3   1  14
 1989 29 CHC NL 157  606  104  176  25  5  30   76  15  5  59  85  .290  .356  .497  301   1   2   8   4   9
 1990 30 CHC NL 155  615  116  188  30  3  40  100  25  7  50  84  .306  .354  .559  344   0   9   8   1   8
 1991 31 CHC NL 158  585  104  170  32  2  26  100  22  8  87  89  .291  .379  .485  284   1   9   4   2   9
 1992 32 CHC NL 158  612  100  186  32  8  26   87  17  6  68  73  .304  .371  .510  312   0   6   4   1  13
 1993 33 CHC NL 117  456   67  141  20  0   9   45   9  2  37  62  .309  .359  .412  188   2   6   1   2  12
 1994 34 CHC NL  57  223   36   53   9  5   5   24   2  3  23  40  .238  .312  .390   87   0   0   0   1   6
 1996 36 CHC NL 150  554   85  135  28  4  25   92  12  8  54 116  .244  .316  .444  246   1   5   4   7   9
 1997 37 CHC NL 135  447   54  118  26  0  12   64   7  4  28  94  .264  .308  .403  180   0   3   3   2   5
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+---+---+---+---+---+
 16 Seasons         8385      2386     76     1061    107    1260  .285  .344  .452       31  71  59  34 139
               2164      1318      403    282      344    761                       3787

Ryne Sandberg became eligible for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and was finally elected in his third year of eligibility in 2005.


Hall of Fame Index
Nolan Ryan | Ray Schalk

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