By Paul M. Banks
Ryne Sandberg is an iconic figure for a whole generation of Chicago Cubs fans. The 2005 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee is considered to be one of the greatest second baseman in history. Ryno’s .989 career fielding percentage is the highest in history among ALL second basemen. His #23 is just the fourth number ever retired by the Cubs organization. He retired in 1997, after spending nearly his entire career as a Cub. Highlights of his Major League service include:
-Ten All-Star Appearances
-Nine Gold Gloves
-Seven Silver sluggers.
-1984 NL MVP award
He is currently the manager of the Cubs single A affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs. Large crowds of inviduals that bleed Cubbie blue follow him wherever he manages. Goose Island even brewed a special beer in honor of Sandberg, the Ryno 23 during the year he was enshrined in Cooperstown. I caught up to him right before his Chiefs visited the Chicago area to start a three game set with the Kane County Cougars.
The two teams will meet again on July 29th at Wrigley Field (7:05pm) for the first minor league game in the park’s storied history.
On returning to the Chicago area to manage a game
RS: When you’re in the Midwest League, there are Cub fans everywhere and they’ve been coming out all across this league. But obviously this is a little closer to home and a very fun place to play.
On the interesting stuff he’s doing later this month
RS: I’m going to the All-Star game, the Hall-of-Famers are being presented before the game. I’ve never been to Yankee Stadium so that will be a treat.
They’re doing a parade down 5th Avenue with all the Hall-of-Famers before the game, and then some of us are invited to the White House on the Wednesday following the game, so I’m going to make a three-day trip out of it. So I’m really looking forward to that and then the following week I’m going to the Hall of Fame inductions for four days after that.
On his players possibly being star struck after watching his appearance at the All-Star game on television
RS: I don’t know about that.
I don’t know if they are going to watch it on TV or not, but last year I brought home some autographs from Hall-of-Famers and kind of made those to be incentives for player of the game and pitcher of the game. So we’ll see if that gives us a little boost down the stretch.
On the Cubs recent trade with the Oakland Athletics for pitcher Rich Harden
RS: I really like what’s going on there and the way they continue to make moves to really give themselves a good chance. I like the way all the pieces are in place right now and they seem to keep adding pieces and want to get better. Hopefully, this will help for making a good second half and lot of good postseasons.
On the recent 10 game winning streak, and if his players realize how hard it is to win ten in a row on the professional level.
RS: Knowing this group, probably not. They’re a bunch of characters. I actually had it posted just to let ’em know. Because they come out every day like it’s a new day, regardless of what happened yesterday and that’s a good thing. But I’ve been watching us climb up the standings to be tied for first, and I had to show them that so I think they got a lot out of the streak, having a good attitude, knowing that it is fun to shake hands after games, I think they got used to it, to the point that I think towards the end of the streak they expected to win every day.Follow paulmbanks