OK, I’ll admit to being a life-long Chicago Cubs fan. Not always rabid or a statistic nerd, but a fan nonetheless. When you are born and raised in Peoria, IL (the home of Joe Girardi and Pete Vonachen), it’s hard to not be a Cubs fan — unless you prefer winning and become a Cardinals fan. I’ve met Harry Carey, been to Wrigley Field, and have an autographed picture of Ernie Banks.
There’s a reason Cubs fans are often referred to as “die hards.” There has always been a soft spot for the Cubs, no matter where we’ve lived.
So … since one of my heroes during high school was Ryne Sandberg, I thought I would pass along part of his Hall of Fame induction speech. It’s about much more than just baseball. (You can watch the entire speech below).
“I played it right because that’s what you’re supposed to do, play it right and with respect.”
“I was in awe every time I walked onto the field. … I was taught you never, ever disrespect your opponent or your teammates or your organization or your manager and never, ever your uniform. Make a great play, act like you’ve done it before; get a big hit, look for the third base coach and get ready to run the bases; hit a home run, put your head down, drop the bat, run around the bases, because the name on the front is a lot more important than the name on the back. That’s respect. … These guys sitting up here [he gestures to those already in the Hall of Fame] did not pave the way for the rest of us so that players could swing for the fences every time up and forget how to move a runner over to third. It’s disrespectful to them, to you, and to the game of baseball. … Respect. A lot of people say this honor today validates my career, but I didn’t work hard for validation. I didn’t play the game right because I saw a reward at the end of the tunnel. I played it right because that’s what you’re supposed to do, play it right and with respect. … If this validates anything, it’s that guys who taught me the game did what they were supposed to do and I did what I was supposed to do.”