Chicago Cubs: Nothing stands test of time like the Ryne Sandberg game

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Ryne Sandberg / Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Moment after moment that no one will ever forget…

At the start of 1984 Frey asked the rangy 24-year-old Sandberg if he had ever thought of trying to hit the ball in the air. The young infielder said he would try. He went from eight homers in 1983 to nineteen in 1984, adding 28 doubles and a staggering 19 triples to his resume. By the end of the year, Sandberg raised his average by more than 50 points from the year prior and almost doubled his RBI total. This output led to Sandberg being named the Senior Circuit’s MVP.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

After eight innings on June 23, the Cubs had chipped away at the Cards’ lead and the game stood at 9-8 St. Louis. But Sutter had entered in the seventh and things looked bleak for the home team.

Ryne Sandberg steps up, and into Cubs history

Sandberg led off to face the vaunted reliever in the bottom of the ninth with the bases empty and the Cubs needing a run to extend the game. He had already had a good game, going 3-for-4 with four RBI but this was Bruce Sutter!

Sandberg later said, “I just aimed for the bottom of the ball and swung.” He homered! Tie game—blown save—extra innings!

Sandberg wasn’t done. Sutter was still pitching in the tenth, with two outs and a two-run lead. Bobby Denier had managed to scratch out a walk to get on base, but Sandberg was facing Sutter again, this time with the Cubs needing two runs to prolong the game.

I’ll let WGN Cubs radio broadcaster, Harry Caray handle the call on what happened next: “WAY BACK! It might bed outta here! It is! He did it again! He did it again! Holy Cow!”

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Ryne Sandberg had hit two consecutive game-tying homers against the best reliever in the game. It was up to little used, Dave Owens to get the game-winning hit for the Cubs, but Sandberg, with a line of 5-of-6, two homers, two runs scored and six RBI, was the hero of a game that NBC announcer Bob Costas pronounced, “The greatest game I’ve ever seen!”