I have kind of gotten away from this, I'll try to stay more on top of it. But in today's history lesson, it is one of those memories where I remember where I was and the emotions running through me at the time.....
1994 At the age of 34, Cub second baseman Ryne Sandberg suddenly retires walking away from $16 million.
I was sooooooo sad, I sat on my bed and watched the press conference and just cried. When his book "Second to Home" came out, I read it cover to cover without putting it down, and got a real sense of where he was coming from, and instead of being sad that he wasn't playing anymore, I was so angry with Cubs management, especially Larry Himes. It wasn't until long after I read the book again that the truth came out about his now ex-wife that made everything even make more sense.
On July 22nd of that year (1994), Sandberg made another appearance at Wrigley when he was inducted into the Cubs' Walk of Fame. He threw out the "first pitch" to Mark Grace and just before Ryno sent the pitch across the plate, Gracey stood up and put his hands up... they ran over to second and first base, and the first pitch was Grace rolling a ball to Ryno, he picked it up and shot it over to Grace at first base. The crowd went nuts.
An piece of Ryno's Autobiography "Second to Home"
The game has changed. I was a player caught between two generations: The one I came up with, which still cared about the game, and the one I left behind, which hardly cared at all.
When I was coming up, we played baseball because we loved the game. I knew what I had to work on because I could feel it. Players went to coaches and asked for extra work. I don't see that work ethic today. As soon as the game is over, it is a race to see who can get out of the clubhouse the fastest.
At the end of a game in Montreal, I'd come in off the field anddd I wouldn't hear the young guys talking about the gagme. I'd hehar them talking about what suits they saw on St. Catherine Street. In New York, it wasn't whether Doc Gooden had his best stuff that day- it was the sales at Bloomie's and Macy's.
The game changed a lot during my 17 years as a pro. That doesn't change the fact that I had a great time. I played in front of the best fans, at the greatest park, and in the finest city. But at the end of my career, the fun was gone, and when the fun left the game, so did I.
The generation I came up with is gone, and I didn't fit in with the one I left behind.
It was time to go.
Luckily for all of us, he did come back as a player, and now as a manager.