An all-American quarterback and a three-sport all-city athlete at North Central, Ryne turned down a football scholarship at Washington State University to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1978. After playing four seasons in the Phillies’ minor league organization, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 1981. In only his third full season with the Cubs, in 1984 he won the National League “Most Valuable Player” award.
“Ryno,” as he was nicknamed, spent 15 years playing major league baseball in Chicago. During his career, he was selected to the National League “All-Star Team” 10 times and won nine “Golden Gloves” as the best fielding second baseman in the league. He won the “Silver Slugger” award seven times as the league’s best hitter at his position.
His career major league statistics include playing 2,164 games with 2,386 hits, including 403 doubles, 76 triples, and 282 home runs. He had 1,061 runs batted in and a career batting average of .285.
Ryne retired as a player in 1997. In 2005 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. That same year the Chicago Cubs retired his jersey #23 during “Ryne Sandberg Day” at Wrigley Field. From 2007 through 2011, Ryne managed minor league teams, first in the Cubs’ organization and most recently for the Phillies. In 2011, Baseball America name him its “Minor League Manager of the Year.”
In 1985, following his MVP year with the Cubs, Ryne returned to North Central for a school convocation in his honor. In a ceremony at that time, the North Central baseball field was officially named “Ryne Sandberg Field.”