1984 proved to be 24-year old Ryne Sandberg’s coming out year.
That’s not to say that his prior seasons in the big leagues were duds.
In 1982 he finished 6th in Rookie of the Year voting, hitting .271 with 32 SB for the Chicago Cubs.
He followed up by winning a Gold Glove in ’83 and stealing 37 more bases.
In ’84, he added more dimensions to his game, hitting .314 with 19 HR, 32 SB and picking up another Gold Glove award.
“Ryno” would go on to win 9 straight fielding awards.
Sandberg won the National League MVP award in ’84 and started a run of 10 straight All-Star appearances.
Save for 6 plate appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981, Sandberg spent his entire career with the Cubs.
He finished with a .285 lifetime batting average, 282 HR and 344 SB.
One must keep in mind that Sandberg came up in a pre-Jeff Kent era. There weren’t a whole lot of second baseman hitting 20+ homers a season, but Ryno did it six times in his career.
In ’84, he finished among the National League’s leaders in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, hits, total bases, doubles and extra base hits.
He led the league in runs scored and triples.
If you ask me, as a Cubs fan, what I remember most about Sandberg it is somewhat hard for me to answer.
He was definitely my favorite player during his career. He was the team’s best player. He was consistent. He was solid.
But he was also very dull and boring. And that, I suppose, is also a big part of what I liked about him.
Sandberg just played the game, head down, all out at all times. There was no show-boating or dramatics or scandals.
Just playing ball.
Sandberg made the Hall of Fame in 2005, his 3rd year of eligibility.