by Howie Stalwick & r & 1. Sandberg signed a national letter of intent to play quarterback at Washington State, but changed his mind after the Philadelphia Phillies offered him $20,000 to play minor league baseball.
2. Junior catcher Chris Henry was widely considered to be North Central High School's best baseball player when Sandberg was a senior on the Indians. Henry was selected by Seattle in the 10th round of the 1979 amateur draft (Sandberg went to Philadelphia in the 20th round in 1978), but injuries cut short Henry's career before he reached the major leagues.
3. Sandberg played shortstop in high school and the minor leagues, but the Chicago Cubs turned him into a third baseman (after considering a move to center field) when he was acquired from Philadelphia in 1982. One year later, Sandberg replaced former Central Valley High School star Bump Wills (who had left to play in Japan) at second base after the Cubs traded for veteran third baseman Ron Cey, a former Washington State player from Tacoma.
4. Sandberg's father was a big fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, so he named Sandberg after former Phillies pitcher Ryne Duren.
5. When Sandberg is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 31 in Cooperstown, N.Y., he will become just the second Hall of Famer from the state of Washington. The first was Snohomish native Earl Averill, a slugging outfielder for the Cleveland Indians in the 1930s.
6. In his first two full seasons in the major leagues (1982-83), Sandberg hit just .266 with 15 home runs and 102 RBIs. The following spring, Cubs manager Jim Frey told Sandberg, "You should be the best player in the National League.'' Frey urged Sandberg to adjust his swing and hit for more power in 1984. Sandberg responded by batting .314, hitting 19 home runs, driving in 84 runs and winning the Most Valuable Player award in the National League.
7. Sandberg committed 35 errors in his first full season in the minor leagues. He made just 33 errors in his last five full seasons in the major leagues.
8. According to the Hall of Fame, Sandberg is the only one of 260 inductees who wore No. 23 in the major leagues. (Sandberg wore No. 37 as a rookie with Philadelphia in 1981, then switched to No. 23 when he was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 1982.)
9. Sandberg's boyhood idol was Pete Rose. When Sandberg first arrived in the major leagues late in the 1981 season with Philadelphia, the Phillies gave Sandberg a clubhouse stall next to Rose's.
10. Sandberg and both his brothers are the fathers of accomplished athletes. Ryne's son, Justin, is a junior infielder at Pepperdine University. Del's son, Jared, played third base for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 2001-03 and is now a farmhand of the Boston Red Sox. Lane's son, David, was a standout wrestler at North Central High, North Idaho College and the University of Pittsburgh.