August 28, 2005

Cubs Retire Ryne Sandberg's No. 23 Jersey

CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs retired Ryne Sandberg's No. 23 jersey before Sunday's game against Florida, making the Hall of Fame second baseman the fourth Cub to receive the honor.

Nearly a month after his induction in Cooperstown, the 10-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove winner and 1984 MVP was given a standing ovation from the crowd and a framed replica jersey from the organization before watching his former team hang his No. 23 on the right-field foul pole. Sandberg, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Billy Williams are the only Cubs to have their numbers retired.

"I'm pretty overwhelmed right now and a little bit sick along with it," Sandberg said before the ceremony. "We'll see how the day goes. I was fortunate enough to be there for Ernie and Billy and Ron. I was on the field for all those ceremonies — not even thinking that I would have a day come like today. Being in their company and joining them means everything to me."

In 16 seasons — 15 with the Cubs — Sandberg batted .285. He ranks third on the Cubs' all-time list in runs scored (1,316), doubles (403) and extra-base hits (761); and fourth in home runs (282), hits (2,385), games (2,151), at-bats (8,379), total bases (3,786), steals (344) and singles (1,624). After being traded from Philadelphia in January 1982, Sandberg flourished. In 1984, he batted a career-high .314, hit 19 homers, stole 32 bases, led the majors in runs scored with 114 and won his second straight gold glove, leading the Cubs to their first playoff appearance since 1945.

"I've been proud to be a lifelong Chicago Cub and still be with the Cubs," Sandberg said. "That's always been important to me and I think it's always been special. It's allowed me to have Chicago as a home; my family considers Chicago a home. There's not too many guys that spend their whole career with one team and I think it's very fortunate and a blessing for me."

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