Skip to content

Ryne Sandberg opines on baseball’s steroid era

May 17, 2013, 10:25 PM EDT

Ryne Sandberg AP

Phillies third base coach Ryne Sandberg is expected to be the next Phillies manager if and when the Charlie Manuel era ends. Sandberg started his playing career with the Phillies but went to the Cubs in the infamous Ivan de Jesus trade in 1982, arguably one of the worst trades in baseball history. With the Cubs, Sandberg would become one of the best second basemen ever to play the game. In recent years, he has worked his way up through the Minor Leagues as a coach.

MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom peppered Sandberg with questions about his past when he managed in the Minor Leagues, what he expects in the future, and got Sandberg to opine on how the Hall of Fame should handle players from the steroid era.

Sandberg: I’m not a sportswriter. I don’t get to vote. I don’t get the ballot in the mail, so it’s out of my hands either way. I can say that in the history of the Hall of Fame, there are no suspicions about guys who are in the Hall of Fame. It’s an elite group. And once you’re in the Hall, you’re in the Hall. Up until now, I think the voting system has handled things very well. And like I said before, there are no suspicions in the Hall of Fame.

MLB.com: But in your speech, you did say that Andre Dawson should be in. You said, “He did it the right way, the natural way.” So you have voiced your opinion, even though you don’t have a vote.

Sandberg: But that wasn’t about drugs. That was about a player whose numbers, I thought, were being dwarfed by those put up in that era. I played with the guy and against him for most of my career. I saw most of his career. For a number of years, he was overshadowed by the guys who hit 60 or 70 home runs. Those numbers were astronomical and were numbers I could not relate to. I thought he was a Hall of Famer and had had a Hall of Fame career. That’s why I voiced my opinion on that, and I was very happy to see him go in.

Sandberg isn’t 100% right about there being “no suspicions in the Hall of Fame”. The Hall is rife with bat-corkers, ball-scuffers, spitballers, players who have taken amphetamines (e.g. Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt), and so forth. Not to mention the otherwise unsavory characters like Ty Cobb.

Older eras of baseball were just as impure as the steroid era has been purported to be. You see this a lot when older people talk about the younger generations. Take TIME Magazine’s latest cover, for instance, titled “The ME ME ME Generation”. Or their 1990 cover titled “twentysomething”, asking if the generation is “laid back, late blooming, or just lost?” People tend to romanticize the generation in which they were brought up and demonize ensuing generations. It seems like that’s what Sandberg is doing here, willfully glossing over his own generation’s seedy history to complain about those damn kids with their loud music and their steroids.

Latest Posts
  1. Giants release second baseman Dan Uggla

    Jul 30, 2014, 10:02 PM EDT

    uggla giants getty Getty Images

    Dan Uggla’s stay with the Giants lasted nine days. MLB.com’s Chris Haft reports that San Francisco has released the veteran second baseman, who went 0-for-11 with a walk and six strikeouts in four games after being called up from Triple-A Fresno on July 25.

  2. Video: Manny Machado makes a ridiculous throw

    Jul 30, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

    manny machado getty Getty Images

    Albert Pujols can barely move these days and for some reason went with a pop-up slide into first base, but this throw on Wednesday night from Manny Machado was still fantastic …

  3. Rangers’ retirement gifts for Derek Jeter: Yankees cowboy boots, signed George W. Bush photo

    Jul 30, 2014, 8:22 PM EDT

    jeter getty Getty Images

    Derek Jeter’s farewell tour continued Wednesday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas with another set of retirement gifts.

  4. Blue Jays considering Asdrubal Cabrera for second base

    Jul 30, 2014, 7:37 PM EDT

    asdrubal cabrera getty Getty Images

    CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Blue Jays are targeting Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera — who is known to be available — and would ask him to play second base.

  5. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says he was never close to trading outfielder Oscar Taveras

    Jul 30, 2014, 6:49 PM EDT

    oscar taveras getty Getty Images

    Oscar Taveras has been mentioned as a possible centerpiece in trade talks this week for top-tier starting pitchers like David Price and Jon Lester, but if Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is to be believed that was all speculation from the outside.

  6. Astros “looking to move” slugger Chris Carter

    Jul 30, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

    chris carter getty Getty Images

    The 44-64 Astros could jump into this seller-friendly market before Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Houston is “looking to move” first baseman and designated hitter Chris Carter.

  7. Matt Harvey cleared to throw from a mound

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:06 PM EDT

    matt harvey getty Getty Images

    Now that it’s clear he can’t ramp up for 2014, the Mets have cleared Matt Harvey to throw.

  8. Nate Jones undergoes Tommy John surgery

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    nate jones getty Getty Images

    White Sox reliever Nate Jones has been on the disabled list with a back injury since the first week of the season, but now he’s got an even bigger problem.

  9. The Mariners are out on Marlon Byrd

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Marlon Byrd Marlon Byrd

    It’s been a rumor for a good while, but now it’s going where rumors go when they die.

  10. There are reports that Jon Lester is going to the Orioles. And reports that that’s utter baloney

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Jon Lester

    The very essence of the trade deadline just played out on Twitter

  11. Eric Chavez announces retirement

    Jul 30, 2014, 3:51 PM EDT

    Eric Chavez

    Injuries derailed what was a very promising career for Chavez while with the A’s, but he bounced back and got healthy enough to thrive in part-time roles for the Yankees and Diamondbacks.

  12. Cubs acquire Felix Doubront from Red Sox

    Jul 30, 2014, 3:32 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Dodgers v Boston Red Sox Getty Images

    Felix Doubront made it clear that he wanted the Red Sox to either put him back into the starting rotation or trade him, and then he went out and had a terrible relief appearance that many took to mean he was trying to push a trade.

  13. UPDATE: OK, maybe the Marlins aren’t going to trade for John Lackey.

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

    lackey getty Getty Images

    A few minutes ago we thought this man could soon be a Fish. Now it seems unlikely. HAPPY TRADE DEADLINE!

  14. Josh Zeid needs season-ending foot surgery

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Josh Zeid Astros AP

    Zeid pitched well for the Astros as a 26-year-old rookie last season, but struggled mightily this season with a 6.97 ERA in 23 appearances.

  15. The Dodgers are out on Lester, Price and Hamels

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    dodgers logo

    They’ve been rumored to be in on all the big names, but now it sounds as if they’re out.

  16. Cardinals acquire Justin Masterson from Indians

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT

    justin masterson getty Getty Images

    Cleveland turned down Justin Masterson’s attempted contract extension offer back in spring training–balking at what seemed to be reasonable terms at the time–and now the Indians are trading the impending free agent to the Cardinals, according to Peter Gammons of MLB.com.

  17. HBT Daily: Trade Rumor Roundup: Kemp! Hamels! Price!

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    And no mention of Lester because I legit thought he’d get traded in between the time we taped this and the time it went live.

  18. Dylan Bundy is struggling in his comeback from Tommy John surgery

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

    Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy would probably already be in the majors to stay if not for blowing out his elbow last season, but now the former No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball is struggling while rehabbing in the minors.

  19. The Dodgers are interested in Joaquin Benoit

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Joaquin Benoit

    But the Padres may be playing hard to get.

  20. Pedro Alvarez is a healthy scratch as the Pirates try to fix his throwing problems

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:13 PM EDT

    Pedro Alvarez AP

    Earlier this week Pirates manager Clint Hurdle talked about looking into the “mental component” of Pedro Alvarez’s throwing problems in an effort to get the third baseman back on track defensively. And now Alvarez is out of the lineup for a second straight day despite being healthy.

Featured video

All the trade deadline news to know
Top 10 MLB Player Searches