Ryne Sandberg

Cubs to unveil Ryne Sandberg statue on 40th anniversary of iconic game

Sandberg clobbered two home runs and helped the Cubs beat the Cardinals 12-11 on June 23, 1984

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Chicago Cubs are making an important addition to Wrigley Field this weekend, with a statue honoring Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg taking center stage on a big anniversary in the team’s history.

Sandberg will be honored prior to Sunday’s game against the New York Mets with a statue on Gallagher Way outside the ballpark, taking its place alongside several other monuments honoring the team’s biggest legends.

The unveiling will come on the 40th anniversary of one of the most famous games in the history of the team, a 12-11 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field that was broadcast nationally and cemented Sandberg’s status as an up-and-coming star.

The famed “Sandberg Game” occurred on June 23, 1984 as the Cubs were gearing up for what would ultimately be their first playoff appearance in 39 years.

The Cardinals led the game 7-1 after two innings and were up 9-3 after the sixth, but the Cubs were able to mount a comeback and were within a run as the ninth inning began.

Bruce Sutter, a former Cubs pitcher who would ultimately be enshrined in Baseball’s Hall of Fame, was on the mound for the Cardinals when Sandberg stepped up to the plate to begin the ninth inning. Sandberg ultimately clobbered a pitch from Sutter into deep left field, tying the game at 9-9 and sending Wrigley Field into pandemonium.

After the Cardinals scored twice in the bottom of the 10th, Sandberg came up again with Bob Dernier on first and again homered off of Sutter, tying the contest at 11-11.

Sandberg would end the game with five hits and seven RBI’s, and Dave Owen would win the contest with an RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Cubs an improbable 12-11 victory over their hated rivals.

The game took on added significance because it was broadcast on national television, with Bob Costas making the immortal calls on television and Harry Caray describing the action on radio. Costas will be at Wrigley Field on Sunday to take part in the ceremony unveiling Sandberg’s statue.

The 1984 Cubs would take over first place in the National League East on Aug. 1 and never looked back, punching their ticket to the National League Championship Series. They would lose in five games to the San Diego Padres, but the season is among the most successful in team history and propelled Sandberg to what would prove to be a Hall of Fame career.

In addition to winning that MVP award in 1984, Sandberg would win the second of what would be nine consecutive Gold Gloves. He also won the Silver Slugger, one of seven he’d win in his career, and the first of two playoff appearances he’d make as a member of the Cubs.

Sandberg was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005, and his No. 23 jersey was retired by the Cubs after his playing career.

The statue ceremony will take place before Sunday’s game, and will air on Marquee Sports Network. The Cubs will then take on the New York Mets at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN.

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