Chicago Cubs: The Heroes of Wrigley Series presents Ryne Sandberg
One of the greatest steals in Major League history introduced Chicago to one of the most lovable and revered Cubs of all-time.
As one of Washington’s premier and notable athletes of the 1970s, Ryne Sandberg was a highly sought after prospect after graduating from North Central High School in Spokane. With numerous offers from NCAA Divison I colleges to play quarterback, he ultimately reneged his letter of intent to attend Washington State University, opting to play professional baseball and try his chances in the 1978 Major League Baseball amateur draft.
After being passed through nineteen rounds, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted Sandberg in the 20th round.
Sandberg made his Major League debut for Philadelphia in 1981, playing in just 13 games and gaining only one hit. The hit, however, auspiciously occurred at Wrigley Field.
His lone hit of the ’81 season would be the first of many in what would be his future home for the next 15 seasons.
With the Phillies having an already stacked infield, which included the likes of Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia couldn’t make room for the 21-year old infielder. Before the start of the 1982 season, the team traded Sandberg, along with Larry Bowa, to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.
It would go down in history as one of the most significant trades, and steals, in Major League Baseball history.