Saturday, February 8, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #105 RYNE SANDBERG


WRIGLEY'S FAVORITE SON OF THE '80s AND '90s.



WGN BROUGHT RYNO INTO A BUNCH OF HOMES.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Mention "Ryne Sandberg'' and the memories flow like the Old Style taps at Wrigley Field. Because of superstation WGN, many saw a superstar's career unfold in the backdrop of 1060 W. Addison St. The homers, the stabs at second, Sandberg to Dunston to Grace ... Ryno put a face on the franchise and muscle to second-base position for 16 years. He hit 282 homers, fourth all-time among second basemen, averaging 30 a season from 1989-'92. He made 10 consecutive NL All-Star teams and won nine consecutive Gold Gloves. 

DEFINING MOMENT

  • The Sandberg Game on June 23, 1984, against the Cardinals in front of 38,097 crazies at Wrigley Field. Any questions? Sandberg pretty much sewed up the NL MVP and cemented his superstar status in this memorable NBC Game of the Week telecast. He tied it 9-9 in the bottom of the ninth with a lead-off homer off closer Bruce Sutter. Then, after the Cardinals scored twice in the top of the 10th, Ryno took Sutter deep again with two out and a man on in the bottom half to knot the game at 11. Pinch-hitter Dave Owen, not Sandberg, actually won the game 12-11 with a single to score Leon Durham in the 11th. Sandberg finished 5-for-7 with seven RBI. After Willie McGee, who hit for the cycle and drove in six, was named NBC's Player of the Game at the start of the ninth inning, a recount was taken after it finally ended with Sandberg getting co-Player of the Game honors.

DEFINING SEASON

  • In that MVP season, Sandberg swatted 19 homers, drove in 84 and stole 32 bases. He hit 19 triples and was an 8.5-win player, best in the NL. He also led the league in runs with 114.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Drafted by the Phillies in '78 as a shortstop but he was blocked by All-Star Larry Bowa in Philadelphia. The team considered moving him to second but All-Star Manny Trillo was there. Third? All-time great Mike Schmidt was entrenched. So, the Phils gave him to the Cubs, along with Bowa, before the '82 season for Ivan DeJesus. Credit GM Dallas Green for that heist.
  2. In '90, Ryno became the third second baseman to hit 40 home runs in a season, leading the NL.
  3. Played in a record 123 error-less games at second during that season.
  4. Citing a loss of desire, he retired in '94. He un-retired in time for the '96 season to play two final years, hitting 25 and 12 homers.
  5. On Sept. 22, 2013, after serving as interim manager for the fired Charlie Manuel, Sandberg was given the job with the Phillies, signing a three-year contract.


The quality is so-so, but this 19-minute highlight reel from the Sandberg Game is a treat. 

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