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Growing up on the east coast of Iowa, my sports loyalty was always to the teams from Chicago. And while most of my early years are now a blur, I still have memories of going to games at Wrigley to watch the Cubs. Heck, I still remember watching Rick Reuschel and Dave Kingman on WGN after school.

My all-time favorite Cub? Ryne Sandberg. The only qualification I can add to my joy over his election today into the Baseball Hall of Fame is that it took the voters three years to elect him. The recent explosion of power shortstops has left us jaded, I think; how else to explain the fact that the voters failed to recognize a guy who worked his tail off to become the best fielder and hitter at his position for years. Yes, yes, Robbie Alomar, but Alomar took that slot over from Sandberg, who was easily the best player at his position for several years, and who helped change the way that middle infielders were perceived. He didn't have a great deal of fielding range, especially there at the end, but he was amazingly consistent, and his bat anchored the Cubs lineup for at least a decade.

Congratulations, Ryno. Now if the voters will just trouble themselves to remember how Bruce Sutter dominated the game and introduced an entire generation to the split-finger...


There are two tandems that I remember loving to watch the most during my youthful baseball watching days (those days when the best the Rangers had to offer was Pete Incavelgia and Steve Buechelle). The first was Alan Trammel and Lou Whittaker playing third and short for the Tigers, and the second was Ryne Sandberg and Mark Grace. These guys made me want to watch the game because of the unique personality with which they played the game (could anyone bunt down the third base line better than Whittaker?)... One of the best of my school days was the day I managed to open a pack of Upperdeck baseball cards and got a Ryne Sandberg. This is a good day.

One of the many benefits of my first girlfriend, aside from the obvious, was that she had Cable TV in a time when it was not the only game in town. Another was that her mother was a baseball fan and a huge Cub fan. I remember many a lazy afternoon watching and hearing Harry Carey and Steve Stone call Cub games along side "my girl" and the doting of she and her mom. She and I once drove to Chicago to see a game. Then, 1985 happened and every guy and girl in Muncie, Indiana (aka Ball Sate U.) was a Cub follower. Until San Diego beat them, anyway. That series and that loss began my move away form Baseball. The 1991 strike sealed the deal.

Sweet, sweet Inky!

Yeah, I faded on baseball for a while, too. What brought me back was playing intramural softball with a bunch of serious fans. That, and the Cubs' recent success. Even in my lean years, I followed them, but now I find myself appreciating the everyday rhythms of MLB...


Even as a Cards fan I can say I'm happy about this one. Ryno had class as a player & skill. I don't how many times he ruined the day for the Cards. It is too bad they made him wait for it.