Year Inducted: 2005 (BBWAA, ballot #3, 393/516)
Some trades are instantly panned when they are made. The Red Sox trading Jeff Bagwell away was seen as an overpay since all they got was 22 innings of Larry Anderson. Ditto with the Cardinals’ trade of Steve Carlton. And yet, there are times when the seemingly key piece in the trade becomes a huge steal. In 1982 the Cubs traded Ivan DeJesus to the Phillies for Larry Bowa and a 22-year old infielder. Bowa, a fairly big name at the time, put up a 66 OPS+ in roughly 500 games for the Cubs while DeJesus put up similar stats for the Phillies. The real gem in that trade was the middle infielder, Ryne Sandberg, who would put up great numbers and go on to the Hall of Fame.
Sandberg spent all but 13 games of his career in the Windy City. He hit .285/.344/.452 with a wRC+ of 115. Ryno hit 282 homers in his career, along with 403 doubles and 76 triples. Sandberg, along with Andre Dawson, were the lone bright spots for many years in Chicago, with Sandberg driving in 1061 runs and scoring 1318 times for a team that struggled with mediocrity for most of his career. In addition to being a great offensive second baseman, Sandberg was a great baserunner (about 24 runs above average) as well as a great defensive second baseman (about 104 runs above average), making him one of the best all-around players in the game during his career.
When Sandberg retired among all second basemen he ranked: 2nd in home runs, 12th in RBI, 11th in runs scored, 14th in steals and 12th in fWAR. Sandberg was easily one of the top 15 second basemen of all-time, and probably close to the top 10 when he retired. He basically had everything that a great player should have and definitely deserved his induction into the Hall of Fame.
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