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  #1  
Old Apr 19th 2007, 6:13 am
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Player Bio, April 19th- Ryne Sandberg

I've been slacking with the bios (Nor'Easter flood, and strep troat got the best of me). Let's look at a plyer we all know, Ryne Sandberg.

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Ryne Sandberg
Ryne Dee Sandberg
Ryno

Born: September 18, 1959, in Spokane, Washington
Elected to Hall of Fame by Baseball Writers in 2005, Player 393 votes on 516 ballots 76.2%

ML Debut: 9/2/1981
Primary Position: Second Baseman
Bats: R Throws: R Primary Uniform #: 23

Played For: Philadelphia Phillies (1981), Chicago Cubs (1982-1994, 1996-1997)
Primary Team: Chicago Cubs

Post-Season: 1984 NLCS, 1989 NLCS
Awards: All-Star (10): 1984-1993; 1984 National League Most Valuable Player; Gold Glove (9): 1983-1991

Bio
Ryne Dee Sandberg (born September 18, 1959 in Spokane, Washington), nicknamed "Ryno", is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who spent nearly his entire career with the Chicago Cubs. He was named after relief pitcher Ryne Duren, and is recognized as one of the best second basemen of all time. Sandberg established himself as a perennial All-Star and Gold Glove candidate, making 10 consecutive All-Star appearances and winning 9 consecutive Gold Gloves from 1983 to 1991. His career .989 fielding percentage is a major league record at second base.

Sandberg was drafted in the 20th round of the 1978 amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. He went on to make his major league debut as a shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981. Thought to have little future with the club except as a utility infielder, he was traded along with shortstop Larry Bowa to the Cubs for shortstop Ivan DeJesus prior to the 1982 season.

The Cubs, who initially wanted Sandberg to play center field, installed him as their third baseman, and he went on to be one of the top-rated rookies of 1982. However, Sandberg was displaced by Chicago's free-agent signing of veteran Ron Cey following the 1982 season, so Sandberg moved to second base, where he became a star. After winning a Gold Glove Award in his first season at the new position, Sandberg emerged with a breakout season in 1984, in which he batted .314 with 200 hits, 114 runs, 36 doubles, 19 homers and triples, and 84 RBI. He nearly became only the third player to collect 20 doubles, triples, home runs, and stolen bases in the same season, led the Cubs to the National League's Eastern Division title, and won Most Valuable Player honors.

After his great season in which he garnered national attention, he wrote an autobiography "Ryno" with Fred Mitchell.

In 1990, Sandberg led the National League in home runs – a rarity for a second baseman – with 40. Sandberg was only the third second baseman to hit 40 home runs; Rogers Hornsby and Davey Johnson hit 42, and no American League second baseman has yet reached forty. Sandberg also batted in 100 runs, despite batting second in the order. His batting average did not suffer from his new level of power, as he finished at .306 for the season. Sandberg, Brady Anderson and Barry Bonds are the only players to have both a 40-homer (1990) and 50-steal (1985) season during their careers. Sandberg played a major league-record 123 straight games at second base without an error. In 1992, Sandberg became the highest paid player in baseball at the time, signing a $28.4 million four year extension worth $7.1 million a season. He earned a spot on the NL All Star roster and an NL Silver Slugger Award at second base with a .304 batting average, 26 home runs, 100 runs, and 87 runs batted in. After struggling early in the season, Sandberg retired in 1994. While he had been a historically slow starter throughout his entire career, his 1994 start was slower than normal. In his book, Second To Home, Ryne said,

“ The reason I retired is simple: I lost the desire that got me ready to play on an everyday basis for so many years. Without it, I didn't think I could perform at the same level I had in the past, and I didn't want to play at a level less than what was expected of me by my teammates, coaches, ownership, and most of all, myself. ”

He also said in the book that at the time of his retirement, to the best of his knowledge, everything was fine with his marriage and that he wanted to be at home with his kids.

He came back for the 1996 and 1997 seasons, retiring again with a career batting average of .285, and a record 277 home runs as a second baseman; this record was surpassed in 2004 by Jeff Kent.


"The Sandberg Game"
One game in particular was cited for putting Sandberg (as well as the 1984 Cubs in general) "on the map", a NBC national telecast of a Cubs-Cardinals game on June 23, 1984. The Cubs had been playing well throughout the season's first few months, but as a team unaccustomed to winning, they had not yet become a serious contender in the eyes of most baseball fans.

As for Sandberg, he had played two full seasons in the major leagues, and while he had shown himself to be a top-fielding second baseman and fast on the basepaths (over 30 stolen bases both seasons), his .260-ish batting average and single-digit home run production were respectable for his position but not especially noteworthy, and Sandberg was not talked about outside Chicago. The Game of the Week, however, put the sleeper Cubs on the national stage against their regional rival, the St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams were well-established franchises with a strong fan base outside the Chicago and St. Louis area.

In the ninth inning, the Cubs trailed 9-8, and faced the premier relief pitcher of the time, Bruce Sutter. Sutter was at the forefront of the emergence of the closer in the late 1970s and early 1980s: a hard-throwing pitcher who typically came in just for the ninth inning and saved around 30 games a season. (Sutter was especially dominant in 1984, saving 45 games.) However, in the ninth inning, Sandberg, not known for his power, slugged a home run to left field against the Cardinals' ace closer. Despite this dramatic act, the Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the tenth. Sandberg came up again in the tenth inning, facing a determined Sutter with one man on base. Sandberg then shocked the national audience by hitting a second home run, even further into the left field bleachers, to tie the game again.

The Cubs went on to win in the 11th inning. The Cardinals' Willie McGee had already been named NBC's player of the game before Ryno's first home run. As NBC play-by-play man Bob Costas (who called the game with Tony Kubek) said when Sandberg hit that second home run, "Do you believe it?!" The game is sometimes called The Sandberg Game. The winning run for the Cubs was driven in by a single off of the bat of Dave Owen.

Post Baseball
Since retiring, Sandberg has kept a low profile. In 2003, Sandberg accepted his first marketing deal since his retirement, agreeing to be spokesman for a Chicago bank. He also appeared on ESPN Radio 1000 as an analyst during the 2004 baseball season. He currently serves as manager of the Peoria Chiefs and formerly served as a spring training instructor for the Cubs in Mesa, Arizona. He is also a former baseball columnist for Yahoo Sports.

Quote
"He's such an easy young man to work with and he has so much talent. He would be a Gold Glove at any position he played. Give him two weeks anywhere on the field and you will have one of the best players at that position in the majors."
— Jim Frey

Did You Know...
His nephew, Jared Sandberg, was a third baseman for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

His last game at Wrigley Field on September 20, 1997 was also the last game during which Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray would perform "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch, as Caray died the following offseason.

In high school, Sandberg was recruited to play quarterback at NCAA Division 1 colleges, and eventually signed a letter of intent for Washington State University. However, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies and chose to turn professional in baseball.

Sandberg also lobbied to be the Cubs' new manager after the 2006 season. General Manager Jim Hendry thought Sandberg wanted to just have dinner when Sandberg called him; unbeknownst to Hendry, it was an interview for the job. Sandberg was a long shot, and the Cubs ended up hiring Lou Piniella, but Hendry hinted at perhaps hiring Sandberg for one of the Cubs' minor league affiliates. This was realized on December 5, 2006, when Sandberg was named manager of the Cubs' Class A affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League.
There's a trade that worked out pretty well for us. It's easy ot focus on the ones that got away, but we stole Ryno from Philadelphia.

I loved watching Ryne Sandberg play, and as a kid, I wanted to be a 2B, but I soon learned lefty infielders aren't realy common... Pitching and 1B for me...
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Old Apr 19th 2007, 9:55 pm
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It's good to see him stay with the Cubs too as a manager. Gotta wonder if he's gonna replace Lou in the future.


BTW - 1,000th post! Now I have 3 balls.
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Old Apr 19th 2007, 10:31 pm
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I love Ryno! He has a great book out that really opened my eyes to the Dallas Green days! It really, I guess, made me realize that baseball is a buisness and these players are just your ordinary average guys with an extraordinary talent.
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Old Apr 20th 2007, 8:41 am
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That game hooked me on the Cubs forever. (How funny that the game was on the 23rd!) Ryno was and still is my favorite player of all time.
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