June 24, 2024 |

Photo – Ryne Sandberg – Courtesy Baseball Hall of Fame

In sports, yesterday was the anniversary of a historic baseball game. The slugfest played out in Wrigley Field 40 years ago, on June 23, 1984 on the west side of the Windy City.

It’s still called the Ryne Sandberg Game in the Lakeview neighborhood at Halstead and Addison Streets. Until I moved to Wyoming, I lived two blocks away from the scene.

Sandberg hit a pair of late-inning, game-tying home runs off St. Louis Cardinals closer Bruce Sutter in the Cubs’ 12-11, 11-inning win before a crowd of 38,079 at Wrigley.

It signaled his rise to stardom. The Cubbies run for the National League pennant would run out of steam later in the season, but the second baseman earned the National League Most Valuable Player Award that year.

Sandberg tied the game in the 9th and 10th innings.

Here the two home runs…first with Bob Costas with the call on NBC and then the voice of the Cubs—Harry Carey with the Sandberg blast in the 10th.

Both of Sandberg’s home runs came off Cardinals’ closer Bruce Sutter. The Cubs would go onto win 12-11, launching a pennant run—the Cubbies first since 1908—that would finally fizzle out in a season-ending collapse on the West Coast.

Still, it gave a new generation of Cub fans a hope they had never known.

Yesterday, 40 years after the monumental game, the Cubs honored Sandberg with a statute on Gallagher Way, just outside the historic confines of Wrigley Field.

Costas was on hand to introduce Sandberg at the ceremony.

Sandberg was just 24-years old that incredible year. He’s 64 years old now. He received a cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

But 40 years ago, yesterday, in a game that lasted 3 hours and 53 minutes, NBC had written the Cubs off before the end of the game. Costas had already read the closing credits before Sandberg’s second home run. And a Cardinal was named the player of the game as the television crew had already checked out mentally in the hot Chicago sun.

Sandberg, in just his third full big-league season, drove in seven runs to rally the Cubs from an early 7-1 deficit on yesterday’s date 40 years earlier. In 16 big league seasons, including 15 with the Cubs, Sandberg was named to 10 All-Star Games and won nine Gold Glove Awards.

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