Ryne Sandberg played 2,151 games for the Cubs and 13 for the Phillies, who brought him to the big leagues in 1981. He garnered one of his 2,386 hits in a Phillies uniform. Following the 1981 season, they traded him to the Cubs.
In his rookie season, third baseman Sandberg hit .271 with 33 doubles and 32 stolen bases, finishing sixth in the league for Rookie of the Year honors. The following season, the Cubs moved him to second base, where his career blossomed.
In 1984, Sandberg led the Cubs to their first postseason play since the 1945 World Series, hitting .314 with 114 RBI’s. He also chipped in with 19 homers on his way to the NL MVP award. He made his first of 10 consecutive All-Star appearances, and won his second of nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards.
In 1990, Sandberg led the NL in homers with 40, while also leading the league in runs and total bases, driving in 100 runs and stealing 25 bases. He was the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby in 1925 to lead the NL in homers.
Sandberg finished his career with the highest fielding percentage at second base with .989. He had 15 streaks of 30 or more consecutive errorless games.
At the time of his retirement after the 1997 season, he held the all-time record of 123 consecutive errorless games by a second baseman and also had hit more home runs than any second baseman in baseball history.
“Ryne Sandberg worked harder than any player I’ve ever seen. A lot of guys with his athletic ability get by on that and have a nice career. Sandberg worked his butt off because he knew it was wrong not to,” said Pete Rose.
When Charlie Hustle says you worked harder than anyone else he’s seen in a half century in the game, that means you’re a pretty hard worker. People may not know that about Sandberg, though, because he was also one to keep his head down and not have much to say. He let his glove, bat, and wheels do the talking.