Statue Row at Gallagher Way honors the most beloved Cubs Hall of Famers in the long and storied franchise history of the Cubs. As you may recall from my reconnaissance from the days before the Fergie Jenkins statue was unveiled, there are two extra bases for statues on either end of Statue Row. I’ve speculated a bit about who those statues could be, but this morning during the Ricketts family panel at Cubs Convention, we got a partial answer. One of those statue bases will belong to Ryne Sandberg, the legendary Cubs second baseman who won a Most Valuable Player award in 1984 on his way to Cooperstown.
The announcement appeared to be a bit of a surprise. Sandberg confirmed it was unexpected to Marquee Sports Network’s Elise Menaker in an interview after the front office panel where he discussed how humbling the prospect of joining legends like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins was. Sandberg also noted how special it was to have this moment with so many Hall of Fame players around this weekend, including Williams and Jenkins.
Ricketts broke the news of the new statue to the crowd in the midst of a series of fans questions to Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts about if and when Sammy Sosa will ever be welcomed back into the Cubs fold. There was clearly a disconnect between the fans and the Cubs owners about how or even if that reunion could ever occur. Marquee Sports Network’s Cole Wright, who was moderating the conversation, transitioned to the beautiful way the sunlight hits the statues in Gallagher Way and Ricketts said they would be adding statues in the coming years, including one that was already under way. A jocular fan yelled “Sammy Sosa” to a lot of laughter — Ricketts, to his credit chuckled as well—before noting that the next statue belonged to a less controversial figure who was in the crowd today. He then introduced Sandberg.
Ryne Sandberg played for the Chicago Cubs from 1982 to 1997, with a brief break during the 1995 season for personal reasons. He put up 68 bWAR as a 10-time All Star and seven time Silver Slugger. He hit 282 home runs while swiping 344 stolen bases with elite defense and was the face of a rejuvenated Cubs franchise for two decades. It’s hard to imagine a player in Cubs history who deserves a statue more.
Congratulations to Sandberg, I’ll have a more in-depth write-up of the Ricketts’ family panel later this afternoon.