Ryne Sandberg's career highlights
1984 NL MVP held career HR mark for second basemen
Ryne Sandberg was a star high school quarterback in Spokane, Wash., when the Philadelphia Phillies drafted him in the 20th round in 1978. He decided to pursue a baseball career but it wasn't as easy as he made it look.
Sandberg struggled at shortstop, and made his Major League debut on Sept. 2, 1981 for the Phillies.
Cubs general manager Dallas Green acquired Sandberg in a trade from the Phillies in January 1982. The young minor leaguer was dealt along with veteran shortstop Larry Bowa for Ivan DeJesus. Bowa started at short for the Cubs in 1982 and Bump Wills was at second, so Sandberg worked out in center field and at third. He played 133 games at third in his rookie season, batting .271 with 103 runs scored and 33 steals.
He moved to second full-time in '83 after Wills left for Japan and the Cubs acquired third baseman Ron Cey. It was a perfect fit for Sandberg.
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In 1989, Sandberg hit 30 home runs for the first time in his career and followed that with a 40-homer season. It marked the first time a second baseman had reached the 40-homer mark since Rogers Hornsby did so in 1922.
Sandberg's Career Highlights
June 1978: Bob Horner, the College Player of the Year, was selected first in the free agent draft by the Braves. Sandberg was selected by the Phillies in the 20th round.
Jan. 27, 1982: Philadelphia sends veteran shortstop Larry Bowa and minor league infielder Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs in exchange for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.
June 12, 1983: In the Cubs' 6-3 win over the Cardinals, Sandberg ties a Major League record with 12 assists.
June 23, 1984: At Wrigley Field, Sandberg goes 5-for-6 with game-tying home runs off Cardinals relief ace Bruce Sutter in both the ninth and 10th innings. He drives in seven runs to lead Chicago to a 12-11 win in 11 innings. It's the first time Sutter has given up two home runs to the same batter in the same game. Dave Owens hits a base-loaded RBI single to win the game.
Nov. 13, 1984: Sandberg wins the National League MVP Award, becoming the first Cub to do so since Ernie Banks in 1959. Sandberg hit .314 with 19 home runs and 32 stolen bases and led the NL in runs (114) and triples (19).
May 18, 1990: In a 7-0 loss to the Astros, Sandberg commits an error to end his Major League-record errorless streak at 123 games and 584 chances. Joe Morgan held the previous mark of 91 games.
Aug. 28, 1990: Sandberg homers in the Cubs' 5-2 win over the Astros to become the first second baseman ever to post back-to-back 30-home run seasons. He will finish the year with 40 home runs to become the first second baseman since Hornsby in 1925 to lead the league in that category.
March 2, 1992: Sandberg becomes the highest paid player in baseball history when he agrees to a four-year contract extension worth $28.4 million.
March 27, 1993: The Cubs put Sandberg (broken hand) and shortstop Shawon Dunston (lower back) on the disabled list. The two will miss Opening Day for the first time in nine years together.
June 13, 1994: Sandberg announces his retirement, effective immediately. He leaves with 2 1/2 years remaining on his four-year, $28.4 million contract.
Oct. 31, 1995: Sandberg announces he will return for the 1996 season.
April 26, 1997: Sandberg hits his second home run of the year off Steve Cooke in the Cubs' 7-6 win over Pittsburgh. It is Sandberg's 267th homer as a second baseman, breaking the record held by Hall of Famer Morgan for most home runs at that position. Hornsby hit 301 homers, but 264 of those were as a second baseman.
Sept. 21, 1997: Sandberg, playing his final game at Wrigley, is 2-for-3 before leaving for a pinch-runner in the fifth. He makes a curtain call in the seventh when Harry Caray sings. The Cubs beat the Phils, 11-3, but Curt Schilling strikes out eight to match J.R. Richard for the most K's by a National League right-hander (313).
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.