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Hail To A Quiet Hero

(Photo is copyright of The Chicago Tribune.)

My spectator sport-watching days are mostly behind me, particularly the three hours a day I used to spend watching Cubs games, but I must pause to pay tribute to Ryne Sandberg, who was just elected to the Hall of Fame. He was an elegant, flawless second baseman, and a rare--for his era, anyway--combination of speed and power offensively. He played the game quietly and effectively, and though some faulted his clean uniform and lack of headfirst dives as somehow reflecting a lack of passion, Sandberg knew he was a lot more valuable to his team by playing every day rather than risking some stupid injury. He was out there every day, efficiently giving every ounce of effort to the Cubs--the only team he ever played for--and when he decided he had enough, he left the game on his own terms.

Today, when ballplayers' bodies are grotesquely inflated by steroids and their loyalty only goes as far as the next time they feel underappreciated and want to renegotiate their contract, and the game has become nothing more than a loud, highly-choreographed marketing vehicle, it's easy to forget it wasn't that long ago that players like Sandberg graced the diamond. His kind is not likely to come around again.

January 5, 2005 in Sports | Permalink

Comments

I'm still holding out for Santo when the vet committee votes on Mar 2.

Posted by: Sam at Jan 5, 2005 9:56:12 AM

That would make it a perfect year for Cub fans, even a lapsed one such as myself. The fact that Brooks Robinson has been in the Hall since 1983, while Santo still languishes patiently outside, still boggles my mind. Santo was every bit Robinson's equal, but lacked the national stage of postseason play.

Posted by: Pete at Jan 5, 2005 11:08:41 AM