Ryne Sandberg became the highest paid player in baseball when he signed a four-year contract extension worth $28.4 million with the Chicago Cubs on March 2, 1992. The contract eclipsed Bobby Bonilla’s five-year, $29 million contract with the Mets, signed just three months previous. Sandberg never got to enjoy the full sum promised by this contract, however, as he unexpectedly retired during the 1994 season, walking away from nearly $15.8 million of the record deal.
I love to play baseball. I’m a baseball player. I’ve always been a baseball player. I’m still a baseball player. That’s who I am.
Ryne Sandberg’s Hall of Fame induction speech is arguably one of the best that I’ve listened to thus far. I particularly enjoyed his discussion of the proliferation of home runs in the game. Even I can’t deny that home runs are exciting, but small ball, in my opinion, is much more of an art form. Sandberg was inducted in to the Hall of Fame as a Cubs second baseman in 2005.
The reason I am here, they tell me, is that I played the game a certain way, that I played the game the way it was supposed to be played. I don’t know about that, but I do know this: I had too much respect for the game to play it any other way, and if there was there was a single reason I am here today, it is because of one word, respect. I love to play baseball. I’m a baseball player. I’ve always been a baseball player. I’m still a baseball player. That’s who I am.
~Ryne Sandberg, from his 2005 Hall of Fame induction speech
I was taught you never, ever disrespect your opponent or your teammates or your organization or your manager and never, ever your uniform.