Results tagged ‘ Ryne Sandberg ’

3/24 HoHoKam countdown

The Cubs have three games remaining at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa before packing up and heading north. In 2014, the team will move into a new facility in west Mesa near the intersection of highways 101 and 202. I’ve seen way too much PFP and towel drills to remember everything. Do you have any memories of HoHoKam to share? Here are some personal highlights:

* The reserve players take batting practice on the back field, behind center, and when Dwight Smith was on the Cubs, he was usually part of that group. Ryne Sandberg noticed and needled Smith about it. One day, there was a large banner on the back field, proclaiming it “Dwight Smith Memorial Field” in honor of the outfielder. Smitty took it well.

* When the Cubs players went to stretch one day, strength coach Tim Buss noticed a compact car parked on the ramp that had obviously seen better days. The car had been bludgeoned by someone using a sledge hammer and absolutely destroyed. Buss did a double take. “Hey, that’s my car,” he said. The players had some fun at his expense, and delivered a new SUV later that morning.

* Speaking of cars, Will Ohman went to the bullpen for a game and saw a tire there. Then, the lefty realized it was his car’s tire. His car was up on blocks in the parking lot, and someone had hidden his four tires in four different places, including one in the shower.

* During the Arizona Fall League, Matt Murton befriended a young boy named Morgan. Murton and Morgan would play catch on the HoHoKam field (I have a photo of the two in my office). The friendship carried over to Spring Training as Morgan would show up for early batting practice and bring Murton drawings he’d made for him. When the Cubs played the Diamondbacks in the 2007 NLDS, Morgan was there to present Murton with a gift.

* Player-wise, it’s been fun to see youngsters like Javier Baez, who hit a walkoff home run against Team Japan on March 15. Sammy Sosa always made the field look small with his mammoth home runs. On Saturday, Shawon Dunston Jr. scored the winning run on a wild pitch. I remember covering his dad in games at HoHoKam.

Do you have a favorite player, favorite game, favorite memory? Either leave a comment here or send an email to

— Carrie Muskat

9/9 Barney error-free for 125 games

Darwin Barney isn’t eating the same sandwich each day before a game, or putting his right sock on first, then his left, or making sure he picks the right bubblegum. Whatever Barney is doing is working on the field. The Cubs second baseman extended his error-less streak on Sunday to a National League single-season record 125 straight games. On Saturday, he passed Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg’s overall NL mark of 123, set June 21, 1989, to May 17, 1990. The Major League record single-season error-less streak by a second baseman is 141 games, set by Placido Polanco in 2007 with the Tigers. Barney has enough games remaining that he could catch Polanco.

“I’m just making sure I’m prepared every day,” Barney said. “I don’t eat the same things. I try to eat anything my body will allow me to eat in the morning. You prepare for something like this in spring and stick to those routines and you’ll be ready to play every day.”

Barney, who leads all NL second basemen in fielding percentage at .998, also is not hesitating to make plays because the record is on the line. He’s aggressive, and leads the league in put outs per nine innings this season.

“The only time [the streak] crosses my mind is on a really high pop up,” Barney said. “Then there’s time to think. Besides that, a guy like [Jeff] Samardzija is on the mound, and it’s the seventh, eighth innings and you’re trying to make plays for him. You don’t think about the streak — you reflect after the game.”

Sandberg was Barney’s manager for three seasons in the Cubs Minor League system, and worked with him in the Arizona Fall League. They haven’t communicated.

“At some point, I’ll text Ryno and say thanks,” Barney said.

— Carrie Muskat

8/28 Barney ties NL mark – UPDATED

Darwin Barney tied the National League record of 113-straight errorless games at second base, set by the Padres’ David Eckstein in 2010. The AL single-season errorless streak record for a second baseman is held by Placido Polanco, who went 141 games without a miscue in 2007 for the Tigers. Barney’s 113-game errorless streak at second base spans 910 1/3 innings since his only 2012 miscue at second base, April 17 in Miami. Ryne Sandberg held the previous single-season mark of 90-straight games without a miscue at second from June 21, 1989, through the end of the season. That was part of Sandberg’s franchise record 123-game errorless streak that ran through May 17, 1990.

“When I was younger, I always thought that defense was my weakness, so I put a lot of effort into working on it and getting as solid as I could,” Barney said.

This is his second full season as a second baseman, and he’s worked on making the transition from shortstop.

“We came in with a plan to fix some things and the plays I had trouble with, and we’ve secured that up,” Barney said.

— Carrie Muskat

8/7 Cubs Inbox

Send your questions to, and include your full name and hometown. Thanks.

Q: With the possible exception of Arodys Vizcaino — and even he’s a question mark coming off Tommy John surgery — it appears the Trade Deadline came and went without the Cubs acquiring any high-level prospects. I was wondering when was the last time the Cubs traded a veteran for a prospect that ended up making a lasting impact at the Major League level? Do we really have to go back to Ryne Sandberg? — Aaron M., Lexington, KY

A: I asked Cubs historian Ed Hartig for some help, because I had a tough time coming up with names, and we both agreed with you that Sandberg was the last one.

Q: Darwin Barney has been making some great defensive plays this year to go along with the best fielding percentage in the NL. Do you think he could get a Gold Glove? — Ethan T., Pittsburgh.

A: He could. Barney would have to unseat the Reds’ Brandon Phillips, a three-time Gold Glove winner (2008, 2010, 2011).

Q: There was a lot of talk about Dillon Maples after the Cubs paid him big money in the 14th round last year to skip college. Since then, I haven’t heard his name mentioned. Is he pitching somewhere? — Gary J.

A: Maples had an elbow injury, and is pitching for the Cubs’ Rookie League team in Mesa, Ariz. In two starts, he’s given up  one earned run on one hit and four walks over 2 1/3 innings.

Q: Is Anthony Rizzo considered a rookie this year? How many at-bats do you need to be a rookie? — Wesley H., Chicago

A: Rizzo is a rookie. A player is considered one unless during the previous season or seasons, he has No. 1, exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues, or No. 2, accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club during the 25-man limit in effect from Opening Day through Aug. 31. Rizzo came into this season with 128 at-bats and 68 days of service time, but 24 of those days were in September.

Q: With the recent trade of Jeff Baker, the Cubs got two players to be named later. Are those players coming from the Draft in 2013 or from the other team’s farm system? — Ray D., Columbus, OH

A: Usually, the two teams decide parameters before the deal. For example, the Cubs and Tigers might have agreed to players from the Class A level and set a soft deadline as to when the Cubs need to make a decision.

— Carrie Muskat

8/5 Barney sets 2B record

Darwin Barney set a single-season club record with his 91st-straight errorless game at second base on Saturday. The streak has reached 730 innings since his only 2012 miscue at second base April 17 in Miami. Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg held the previous single-season mark of 90-straight games without a miscue at second from June 21, 1989, through the end of the season (that was part of Sandberg’s franchise record 123-game errorless streak that ran through May 17, 1990). The NL single-season record for consecutive errorless games at second base is 113, done by San Diego’s David Eckstein in 2010. The AL single-season mark is held by Placido Polanco, who had 141-consecutive errorless games at second base in 2007.

— Carrie Muskat

11/21 Cespedes, Jaramillo, Ryno & Santo

The Cubs are expected to get a first-hand look at Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes on Tuesday in the Dominican Republic. Jason McLeod, senior vice president of scouting and player development, was part of the Cubs contingent in the Dominican. Cespedes set a single-season record by hitting 33 home runs. The 26-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder has worked out for the Red Sox and Yankees, among other teams. However, his asking price, believed to be around $50 million, may be a little steep. McLeod also had a chance to scout 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler in the Dominican.

* Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo will return next season and be part of new Cubs manager Dale Sveum’s staff, baseball sources said. Jaramillo talked to Sveum over the weekend. Sveum is still putting together his staff, and an official announcement was expected soon, possibly after the Thanksgiving holiday. Coaches Bobby Dernier and Ivan DeJesus will not return, according to a source.

* Ryne Sandberg, who guided the Phillies’ Triple-A team to its first winning season and into the International League championship series, will return as the IronPigs manager in 2012. Sandberg had interviewed for the Cardinals’ Major League manager vacancy, which ultimately went to former St. Louis catcher Mike Matheny.

* Tuesday is the official release date for WGN Radio’s Pat Hughes new CD highlighting Ron Santo’s career. It’s a fun-filled collection of Santo clips from the “Pat & Ron Show” broadcasts, including discussions between the two on cage dancing, cake, “Al Fonseca,” Brant Brown, and more. It’s an absolute must for fans of Santo, who died last December. The CD is the 10th in Hughes’ “Baseball Voices” series, which naturally is the perfect one to honor No. 10. You can purchase it on or at

— Carrie Muskat

11/3 Ryno follow-up

After Theo Epstein met with Mike Quade in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday to tell him he wouldn’t be retained as manager, the next call was to Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts. Then, Epstein called Ryne Sandberg, and left a message. Epstein wanted the Hall of Fame second baseman to hear from him first that he would not be a candidate for the manager’s job. The Cubs want someone with Major League experience. Epstein did interview Sandberg last year for a job in the Red Sox system, but he opted to go to the Phillies’ Triple-A team.

“I thought he had a great future on a big league staff and as a big league manager someday and wished him luck,” Epstein said. “He was very gracious in return and wished us luck with the Cubs and wished me luck personally. There were no hard feelings whatsoever.

“I told him, ‘Look, I’ve only been in Chicago for a little more than a week but it was clear what an incredible impact he had made on the people here and this organization, even greater than what I imagined from afar.’ I said I hoped we could turn the organization into something that would make him proud.”

Would Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer let the next Cubs manager include Sandberg on his coaching staff if he wanted to?

“I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Epstein said.

— Carrie Muskat

11/2 Sandberg not a candidate for Cubs job

Ryne Sandberg is not a candidate for the Cubs’ managerial vacancy. Theo Epstein said he wants someone who has managerial or coaching experience at the Major League level. Sandberg has managed in the Minor Leagues for five seasons, including four with the Cubs. This season, he left the Cubs to manage the Phillies’ Triple-A team.

Epstein called Sandberg about 10 minutes after the Cubs issued the release about Mike Quade.

“He didn’t owe me that at all,” Sandberg told the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald. “He didn’t have to do that. It was a classy move and I’m very appreciative of the phone call. In the end, I wished him and everybody there good luck.”

Sandberg said Epstein had a list of possible candidates.

“Cubs fans should have trust in Theo,” Sandberg said. “They’re in great hands with him and Jed and Jason [McLeod]. They’re heading in the right direction and they’re going to do everything in their power possible to get the Cubs where they ultimately want to be.”

— Carrie Muskat

1/15 Cubs convention notes

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was asked about everything from the music at Wrigley Field to Ryne Sandberg to payroll during a question and answer session at the Cubs Convention Saturday. Ricketts said Sandberg, who did not get the manager’s job, is always welcome back with the team. Sandberg has taken a job as Triple-A manager with the Phillies.

“He was always welcome here, he is always welcome here and he’s one of us,” Ricketts said of Sandberg.

Ricketts said the Cubs hope to complete rennovations at Wrigley Field by 2014. There are no plans to instal a video scoreboard but in another session, fans expressed an interest in one. We’ll have to wait and see.

— Carrie Muskat

12/16 Cubs Minor League staff

The Cubs promoted Bill Dancy to Triple-A Iowa manager, named Tom Beyers the hitting coordinator and Dennis Lewallyn pitching coordinator, and added former big leaguer Mariano Duncan as Double-A Tennessee hitting coach. The team made the announcements as it released the Minor League assignments for 2010 on Thursday. Dancy takes over at Iowa for Ryne Sandberg, who left the Cubs organization after not getting the manager’s job with the big league team. Sandberg will manage the Phillies’ Triple-A Lehigh Valley team in 2011.
Tennessee will have a new staff and be led by manager Brian Harper, a former catcher for 16 big league seasons.

— Carrie Muskat