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. Jose Bautista hopes to return early this week

    Apr 26, 2015, 1:02 PM EDT

    jose bautista getty Getty Images

    Last week, it looked like Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista might be headed to the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. He has now missed five straight games, but the news Sunday was good …

  2. Navy lieutenant Mitch Harris made his MLB debut

    Apr 26, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    mitch harris getty Getty Images

    Cardinals right-hander Mitch Harris is the first graduate of the United States Naval Academy to appear in a major league game since 1921.

  3. Dodgers sign Mike Carp to minor league deal

    Apr 26, 2015, 11:29 AM EDT

    mike carp getty Getty Images

    The 28-year-old first baseman and outfielder will report to the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.

  4. Brandon McCarthy left his start Saturday with tight elbow

    Apr 26, 2015, 10:40 AM EDT

    brandon mccarthy getty Getty Images

    Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy called for a trainer immediately after serving up a three-run homer to Padres slugger Justin Upton in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday night at Petco Park.

  5. Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards

    Apr 26, 2015, 9:51 AM EDT

    ALCS - Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles - Game One Getty Images

    It was a long, tense Saturday night at Baltimore’s Camden Yards, where the home team needed extra innings to beat the Red Sox inside the park and thousands of protesters angry over the death of Freddie Gray made their presence felt outside.

  6. It sure sounds like Adam Wainwright suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Saturday night

    Apr 26, 2015, 9:24 AM EDT

    adam wainwirght getty Getty Images

    The official word — for now — from the Cardinals is that ace right-hander Adam Wainwright left his start Saturday night against the Brewers because of a “left ankle injury.” But watch the video for yourself …

  7. Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

    Apr 26, 2015, 8:37 AM EDT

    ryan braun getty Getty Images

    It’s getting uglier and uglier for the Brew Crew.

  8. Hisashi Iwakuma has a Grade 1 lat strain, will miss 2-4 weeks

    Apr 25, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Hisashi Iwakuma Hisashi Iwakuma

    Hisashi Iwakuma could miss up to a month after being diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his right lat muscle.

  9. Alex Rodriguez was impressed by Matt Harvey in Saturday’s loss

    Apr 25, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Getty Images

    Alex Rodriguez is one of many major leaguers Matt Harvey has impressed.

  10. Adrian Beltre sent Garrett Richards an invoice for three broken bats

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    Adrian Beltre Getty Images

    Adrian Beltre humorously sent an invoice to Garrett Richards for the three bats he broke on Friday.

  11. Play of the Day: Freddy Galvis makes superb diving grab and throw for the out

    Apr 25, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT

    Freddy Galvis Freddy Galvis

    Freddy Galvis threw his hat into the ring as an early contender for Play of the Year.

  12. Adam Wainwright exits Saturday’s start with an apparent Achilles injury

    Apr 25, 2015, 8:37 PM EDT

    Adam Wainwright Adam Wainwright

    Adam Wainwright suffered an apparent Achilles injury after hitting a pop-up in Saturday’s game against the Brewers.

  13. Joel Peralta dealing with a “dead arm”, could go on the disabled list

    Apr 25, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Joel Peralta Getty Images

    The Dodgers’ thin bullpen could get even thinner if Joel Peralta needs to go on the disabled list.

  14. Rays designate Allan Dykstra for assignment

    Apr 25, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT

    Allan Dykstra Allan Dykstra

    The Rays designated slugger Allan Dykstra for assignment to make room for Everett Teaford on Saturday.

  15. Video: Kevin Plawecki connects for his first major league home run

    Apr 25, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    Kevin Plawecki Getty Images

    Watch Kevin Plawecki swat his first major league homer.

  16. Jose Fernandez ready to face hitters for first time since Tommy John surgery

    Apr 25, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    Jose+Fernandez+Miami+Marlins+v+San+Diego+Padres+x1Pnh0XpK7ol Getty Images

    The Marlins have stumbled out of the gate with a disappointing 6-11 record, but they entered play today on a three-game win streak and here’s some good news about their rehabbing ace.

  17. Former Cubs catcher, Expos manager Jim Fanning dies at 87

    Apr 25, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    jim fanning

    Fanning was involved in baseball for more than 60 years.

  18. BREAKING: Brett Gardner is trying to get Alex Rodriguez to grow a mustache

    Apr 25, 2015, 4:01 PM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez, Caleb Joseph AP

    It’s of utmost importance that this happens.

  19. Blue Jays release left-hander Ricky Romero

    Apr 25, 2015, 3:48 PM EDT

    ricky romero jays getty Getty Images

    It looked like the Blue Jays had one of the best young left-handed pitchers in the game after Romero compiled a 3.60 (119 ERA+) across his first three seasons in the majors, but his career veered off track after 2011 due to control problems and knee issues.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (4301)
  2. A. Russell (3748)
  3. D. Smyly (3450)
  4. D. Travis (3407)
  5. B. Zobrist (3302)
  1. D. Mesoraco (3059)
  2. M. Saunders (2926)
  3. M. Wieters (2894)
  4. J. Bautista (2832)
  5. Y. Puig (2808)