The Chicago Cubs plan on unveiling a statue of Ryne Sandberg during the 2024 season. What moments were his best in a Cubs uniform?

On the 40th anniversary of the game that he is most associated with, Ryne Sandberg will be memorialized with a statue in Gallagher Way. Sandberg’s likeness will be the sixth Cubs statue. He will join Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Harry Caray, and Fergie Jenkins. Given his playing statistics and Hall of Fame resume, this seems like a great choice by the Cubs. Sandberg has always been beloved by the fan base, and he is a great ambassador for not only the Cubs but baseball as a whole.

With the focus on Sandberg, let’s look back at some of the memorable moments he had in Chicago.

Ryne Sandberg’s Best Moments with the Chicago Cubs

Playoff Performances

The Cubs only made the playoffs twice while Sandberg was a part of the team. However, Ryno made the most of his limited opportunities. In their first playoff appearance in nearly 40 years, the 1984 Cubs looked destined to win it all. After winning the first two games at home in a lopsided manner, only one win separated the Cubs from their first World Series appearance since 1945. However, it was not meant to be, as the Cubs fell in five games to the San Diego Padres. One bright spot was the play of Sandberg, who batted .368 with an OPS of .928 while playing flawless defense at second base.

The Cubs’ next postseason appearance was in 1989.  Despite losing the NLCS in five games to the San Francisco Giants, Sandberg was still a force. He batted .400 with an OPS of 1.258, including a home run in Game 1.  While the series was not kind to the NL East Division champs, it wasn’t because of a lack of production by their second baseman.

Second Base Slugger

Following the division championship in 1989, the Cubs faltered and finished fourth in the NL East in 1990. However, Sandberg continued his stellar career by winning the home run title with 40 bombs during the season. He was the first second baseman to win a home run title in over 60 years. It was the first time it had been done since Rogers Hornsby completed the feat in 1925. Sandberg also led the league in runs scored and total bases while finishing fourth in the MVP race. In addition to his regular season power, Sandberg won the Home Run Derby during All-Star week that same year. Furthermore, Sandberg finished first in Offensive WAR during that 1990 season, garnering him his fifth year where he was an All-Star, Gold Glove winner, and Silver Slugger winner all in the same season.

The Sandberg Game

The lore of Ryne Sandberg can be traced back to one game on June 23, 1984.  After being acquired from the Phillies two years prior in a trade, Sandberg had established himself as a stalwart at second base.  However, it wasn’t until the nationally televised game on that sun-splashed Saturday against the Cardinals that Sandberg became a household name throughout the country.  Trailing both in the 9th and 10th innings, Sandberg homered off of Hall of Fame reliever Bruce Sutter both times to extend the game.  The Cubs would eventually win 12-11 in 11 innings.  Sandberg’s legend had been cemented with a 5-for-6, 7 RBI, and 2-homer performance.  The MVP would follow at the end of the season for this Wrigley Field hero.

 

Photo Credit: “Ryne Sandberg” by Minda Haas Kuhlmann is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.