More About Ryno

Ryne Sandberg is the Phillies 52nd manager. And, he wears #23. You know that.

His nickname is “Ryno” and you know that, too.

Signed by the Phillies, he was dealt to the Cubs where he developed into a Hall of Fame second baseman. You know that.

What don’t you know about Ryno?

He was a three-sport star at North Central High School in Spokane, WA–football, basketball and baseball.

Named one of the two best high school football players in the state of Washington, he had signed a letter of intent to attend Washington State as a quarterback but chose to play for the Phillies who drafted him in the 20th round in 1978.

The day that Phillies scout Bill Harper told Ryne they would draft him, he made four errors in one game. He was a shortstop.

Following graduation, the high school baseball field was named “Ryne Sandberg Field.”

The city of Spokane produced, in addition to Ryno, NFL quarterback Mark Rypien and NBA point guard John Stockton. Three different high schools, three different eras. Came across that fact in 1992 a Sports Illustrated story, “City of Stars”, written by Scott Rushin.

According to that same story, Sandberg was named after Ryne Duren, the flame-throwing right-hander pitcher. A brother, Del, was named after Phillies slugger Del Ennis.

When Ryno made his major league debut with the Phillies in September of 1981, he wore #37.

He joined the Phillies on September 2 that season and was a pinch-runner in his first four appearances, scoring two runs.

His first hit came against the Cubs’ Mike Krukow in Wrigley Field on the 27th, an eighth-inning single in a 14-0 loss. He borrowed a bat from Larry Bowa that at-bat.

In his first full major league season (1982) with the Cubs, he played third base. When the Cubs acquired Ron Cey that off-season, he moved to second base.

He wore #23 with the Cubs, who retired that number in 2005.

He’s the first Phillies manager to wear #23.

“I had no ambition to go to college and study,” Ryno said that same SI article. “When the Phillies made a offer, it made my decision easier. I wanted to get into the minor leagues young, work at the game, learn how it worked and maybe, someday, make an appearance in the majors.”

I guess you could say, Ryno learned how the game worked….toil in the minors and then reach the majors. He’s done that twice, as a player and as a manager.

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