Cubs News

Why Ryne Sandberg was adamant about big aspect of statue depiction

3 weeks agoTony Andracki

Ryne Sandberg had a lot of input in the final product of his statue that will sit forever outside Wrigley Field.

As the Sandberg statue was unveiled alongside those of Fergie Jenkins, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Ernie Banks in Gallagher Way Sunday afternoon, the Hall of Fame second baseman explained why he felt passionately about how he should be depicted.

Sandberg could have had a bat in his hands, swinging like Williams.

But that wasn’t what “Ryno” wanted.

[WATCH: Go behind the scenes with Cubs productions on the making of the Sandberg statue]

“I am so proud that this statue is a baseball player, playing defense,” Sandberg said. “Defense was always No. 1 for me. Change the game all you want, but you don’t win championships without good defense.

“This statue represents, to me, ’80s and ’90s baseball at Wrigley Field, on WGN, 162 games, in the sunshine and on my toes, prepared for every play in the game.”

Sandberg won 9 straight Gold Gloves from 1983 through 1991 and was worth 13.5 defensive WAR by Baseball Reference’s metric.

Sandberg was quite an accomplished offensive player, leading the league in home runs with 40 in 1990. He drove in 100 runs twice and stole at least 20 bases in 9 seasons, topping out at 54 in 1985.

He also scored 100 or more runs 7 different times, leading the league 3 years in that stat.

[READ: Ryne Sandberg had an emotional message for Cubs fans at his statue ceremony]

But it always came back to defense for the second baseman.

“Well, some of the things I wanted with the statue was on the balls of the feet, ready for every single pitch,” Sandberg said. “Defense was very important for me. For me, it was bring your glove every single day.

“You might go into some hitting slumps, but as far as defense goes, as long as I did my pregame work and did that, I wanted to play defense every day for the pitcher and for everybody on the field.”

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

The statue also has the flip-down sunglasses, which became a Sandberg staple to combat the Chicago sun and all the day games the Cubs played – especially for most of the 1980s.

“You only flipped them down if the ball went up and they were so dark that even if the ball was in the sun, you’d still catch it,” he said. “But I think that’s very cool. The gold patch on the glove signifies the Gold Gloves that were won.

“Of course, the vintage jersey, the pullover jersey (not the button down) and the elastic pants right on down to the stirrups. The uniform the fans will recognize that as ’80s style and they might even call it retro.”

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

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