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A Sad "Ryno"versary

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Ten years ago today would have been the saddest day of my young life, except I was at summer camp, so it was more like 9 years and 362 days ago. In a stunning announcement, Ryne Sandberg, my all-time hero, best ballplayer who ever lived, and thus the greatest second baseman ever, retired.

1994 had been a rough year for Ryno, he wasn't playing real well, but that didn't matter to me. He was still Ryno and I would drop everything to watch him hit. I first learned about his retirement in the showerroom at camp when I saw a newspaper with the announcement. I didn't have enough time to read all the details, and as a result didn't really internalize it until I got home. A sad day indeed. (Check out some other famous dates in Cubs history by checking out the Cubs Calendar.)

However, the story didn't end there as you all know. Ryno came back to play another two years, and the day he announced his return might just have been the best day of my life. Still, the story isn't complete and I am waiting to hear the joyous news that Ryno has been elected into Baseball's Hall of Fame.

It is a travesty of justice that Ryno wasn't given the honor of being a first ballot electee, and I am going to remind everyone to write their sports writer and plead for Ryno ballots.

  • 1984 NL MVP .314 AVG, .367 OBP, .520 SLG, 19 home runs, 32 stolen bases and lead the league with 19 triples and 114 runs. Ryno also had 200 hits and 84 RBI in leading the Cubs to their first division championship since 1945.
  • In 1990 Ryno lead the NL with 40 home runs and 116 runs scored. Ryno was the first second baseman to lead the league in home runs since Rogers Hornsby in 1925.
  • Hit above .300 in 5 seasons.
  • Won 9 consecutive Gold Gloves from 1983-1991. The first second baseman to ever win 9 gold gloves.
  • Finished his career with a .989 fielding percentage, the highest ever for a second baseman. Ryno also had tremendous range and could leap high to steal bloop line drive hits.
  • Holds the major league record for playing error free ball in 123 straight games at second base.
  • Through '94, Sandberg had 17 streaks of error free ball of at least 30 games. Five of these stretches lasted over 50 games.
  • Finished his career with 344 stolen bases, and 282 home runs.

Elect Ryne Sandberg to the Hall Of Fame Now!

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow! Despite allowing more than 3 runs, the Cubs won yesterday's game. (The Magic Divide for the Cubs is 3 runs allowed. 3 or fewer runs allowed (33 games) and the Cubs play at a .788 win %, if they allow 4 or more runs (28 games) they play at a .214 winning %). Thus, a 10-5 Cubs win is truly a remarkable occasion.

Some Notes: I had to watch the game on MLB.tv and so I "got to" hear the Angels commentary team of Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler, which made me wish Joe Carter had gotten a job in Anaheim. Both of these guys were horrible, but Rex Hudler especially. Hudler sounded like he was auditioning for the role of an action hero, or video game commentator. Every play required an overly enthusiastic (and simple) explanation of what you had just seen. To make the telecast even more unbearable there wasn't a moment of dead air for the first three innings. Steve Physioc (who of course was Psycho) made me think... "Gee Chip Caray's not so bad after all."

On the field, I am wondering if someone passed along Steve Stone's comments about Aramis Ramirez hustle. After hitting a ball to dead center, well out of the park, Aramis was running hard around the bases. No home run trot yesterday.

The Cubs bullpen had a meltdown in the 6th inning. Dusty brought in Francis Beltran who pitched 8 pitches and allowed three hits and a run scoring fielder's choice. How's that for pitch efficiency? 4 batters on 8 pitches, only he allowed 3 runs in the process.

Finally, in a little suprise, watching Jose Macias in right I noticed that he has a pretty good arm. Speed, strong arm, flexibility... a pretty good 25th man.

Posted by Byron at June 13, 2004 1:00 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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