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Sandberg not called to Hall
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01/07/2003  2:15 PM ET 
Sandberg not called to Hall
Cubs second baseman fell shy of mark with 244 votes
Vote now for the 2003 All-Star game
Ryne Sandberg won nine Gold Gloves and made 10 All-Star appearances but did make the cut on his first attempt at the Hall of Fame. (AP Photo)
CHICAGO -- Ryne Sandberg has always preferred to let his play on the field speak for him and he will maintain that approach rather than politic to get into the Hall of Fame. Campaigning for Cooperstown just isn't his style.

Sandberg received 244 votes, or 49.2 percent, in his first year on the baseball Hall of Fame ballot, announced Tuesday. A player needs 75 percent to gain entry and only Eddie Murray and Gary Carter received that magic number.

A flawless second baseman for 15 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Sandberg will have to wait until next year.

"I had a very anxious day just waiting to see what was going to happen," Sandberg said of his pre-vote activities Tuesday. He canceled a golf game; he was too nervous.

Final results
 Player Votes   %
 Murray  423  85.3
 Carter  387  78
 Sutter  266  53.6
 Rice  259  52.2
 Dawson  248  50
 Sandberg  244  49.2
 Smith  210  42.3
 Gossage  209  42.1
 Blyleven  145  29.2
 Garvey  138  27.8
 *Kaat  130  26.2
 John  116  23.4
 Morris  113  22.8
 Trammell  70  14.1
 Mattingly  68  13.7
 Murphy  58  11.7
 Concepcion  55  11.1
 Parker  51  10.3
 Valenzuela  31  6.3
 Hernandez  30  6
 Kile  7  1.4
 Coleman  3  0.6
 Butler  2  0.4
 Fernandez  2  0.4
 Honeycutt  2  0.4
 Pena  2  0.4
 Daulton  1  0.2
 Davis  1  0.2
 Tartabull  1  0.2
 Jackson  0  0
 Tettleton  0  0
 Williams  0  0
 Worrell  0  0
*Jim Kaat final year on ballot
"There's been quite a buildup. You hear the talk for five years (since he retired) about the possibility," he said. "It's really an honor to me (to be on the ballot).

"I did everything on the field, I had a great time doing it, I enjoyed every minute of it. If something happens in the future, something like the Hall of Fame, something totally out of my hands, it's nice to be thought of."

But he won't be lobbying for votes.

"I have a lovely family and wife," the 43-year-old father of five said from his Arizona home. "That's important to me. If I was to sit here and say I deserved an award -- that doesn't sound very classy to me."

Murray, who was one of 17 first-time entries on the ballot along with Sandberg, and Carter were the only players selected in the voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Murray, who hit more than 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, is the 38th player to be elected on the first ballot.

Former Cubs Bruce Sutter, Andre Dawson, Lee Smith also came up short. But Sandberg, who played 15 seasons with the Cubs, beginning in 1982, was considered a strong candidate.

A rare combination of power and defense, Sandberg has hit more home runs than any other second baseman in Major League history with 277. He ended his career with a .989 fielding percentage, the highest career mark at his position.

The 1984 MVP and a 10-time National League All-Star, he was the league's top votegetter three times (1990-92) and won nine consecutive Gold Gloves at second base. When Sandberg retired after the 1997 season, he had a career .285 average, 282 homers and 1,061 RBIs.

"I would never say (getting into the Hall of Fame) was a goal of mine," he said. "Trying to win a Gold Glove or trying to win a Silver (Slugger) bat, that's something a player can do and work towards. Getting in to the Hall of Fame is something a player has no control over whatsoever. If it happens, it happens. It's hard for that to be a goal."

A 20th-round selection by Philadelphia in the June 1978 draft, he was a throw-in in the Phillies' January 1982 deal which sent Larry Bowa to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. Sandberg thought his big league career was finished after a 1-for-32 start with the Cubs in '82.

Instead, he played 15 seasons, earning the nickname "Baby Ruth" from St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog after hitting two dramatic home runs in the Cubs' 11-inning, 12-11 victory over the Cardinals on June 23, 1984.

The soft-spoken infielder from Spokane, Wash., was vying to become the 15th second baseman inducted into Cooperstown.

"He was constant. That's a good word -- 'constant,'" former Cubs teammate Mark Grace said of Sandberg. "Players like Ryno and Cal Ripken, you expect them to be there every day and never leave. You expect them to play forever and play at the same level every year. It's not fair, but that's what happens when (a player) does it for such a long time."

Sandberg's bid for the Hall isn't over. He did receive enough votes to be included on next year's ballot. Among the newcomers in 2004 are Joe Carter, Dennis Eckersley, Paul Molitor and Dennis Martinez.

Sandberg will have to go through the anxious moments one more time.

"I did an interview three or four days ago and said I'd be playing golf today. I lied about that," Sandberg said. "There's no way I could play golf."

Hall of Fame 2003

Induction Ceremony
Sunday, July 27
Cooperstown, New York

The inductees
Gary Carter | Eddie Murray

Schedule of weekend events
Complete coverage

He fielded calls from friends and family throughout the day but not from Cooperstown.

"I've got kids spread all over the place at colleges and we've already called them and let them know," Sandberg said. "They've all rallied behind me today. That's a nice thing to have."

The Cubs may still send a contingent to Cooperstown this summer. Former Cub third baseman Ron Santo will learn his fate from the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee on Feb. 26.

"It's about time that he gets in," Sandberg said of Santo. "Anybody who looked at what he did on the baseball field and being the all-around person that he is, he's well deserving."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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