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Ryne Sandberg had an emotional message for Cubs fans at his statue ceremony

4 weeks agoTony Andracki

Sunday was a whirlwind day for Ryne Sandberg as the Cubs unveiled his new statue outside Wrigley Field.

Actually, it’s fair to sum up Sandberg’s entire year as a whirlwind.

Six months before fans came out in droves and most of the 1984 Cubs team packed into Gallagher Way, Sandberg was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer.

But he was declared cancer-free a month before the statue ceremony.

“As for the fans, you always made it clear how you felt,” Sandberg said during his speech. “You carried me my entire career but you have taken it to a whole new level and I felt every one of your posts on social media and in person by your comments.

“You are my friends now and you have carried me through months of chemo and radiation. I’ll never be able to thank you properly.”

[READ: ‘It’s beautiful’: Cubs fan Bill Murray reacts to Ryne Sandberg statue]

Sandberg made special mention of his former teammates and many others associated with Major League Baseball, who also reached out during his cancer treatment.

“My life changed a lot in 1984 but that’s nothing compared to what happened 6 months ago,” he said. “So my thoughts today are about love, life, family and friends. My teammates fall into all those categories. But until my cancer diagnosis, I guess I never fully understood that.

“The number of people in baseball that have reached out to me this year is astonishing. Some I haven’t had contact in 20 or 30 or 40 years. I feel that love now that was always there but I was too busy grinding out an extra 60 groundballs every morning to know that it was happening.

“We are what we are and that was me. I love you guys.”

Though Sandberg was enduring a battle unlike any he had ever faced, he always felt like he was going to be able to be healthy for this statue ceremony.

“With what I’ve gone through, this has been clearly a goal,” he said. “I had a goal of throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field, which I did this year and then to be here and all, this was a guarantee for me.

“I kind of reverted back to my baseball days of having goals and my attitude and work every day towards something. That’s what I’ve done and it’s worked. Like I told the fans: Cubs fans, I’m feeling fine and everything’s going in the right direction.”

Catch the entire Sandberg Statue Ceremony on the Marquee Sports Network app.

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