Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg announced on Monday that he has been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. The former second baseman shared the news in an Instagram post, saying that he has begun undergoing treatment to fight the disease.
Background on Ryne Sandberg’s Legendary Baseball Career
Ryne Sandberg, 64, is considered one of the greatest second basemen in MLB history and a beloved icon for Cubs fans. He played 16 seasons with the Cubs and Phillies from 1981 to 1997, making 10 All-Star teams and winning 9 Gold Glove awards.
- Batted .285 lifetime with 282 home runs, 403 doubles, 76 triples
- NL MVP in 1984 when he hit .314 with 19 triples, 200 hits, 114 runs, 36 doubles
- Won 9 straight Gold Gloves from 1983-1991
- Hit 40+ doubles twice, 30+ homers once
- Carter and Sandberg were the most prolific MLB double-play duo of the 1980s
Sandberg was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 in his third year of eligibility. His No. 23 was retired by the Cubs later that year, and a statue of him was added outside Wrigley Field in 2010.
After retirement, Sandberg served as a spring training instructor for the Cubs and worked in their minor league system. He was named manager of the Phillies for parts of the 2013 and 2014 seasons amassing a 119–159 managerial record.
Since 2015, the Washington native has been an analyst for Marquee Sports Network covering his former team.
Details of Ryne Sandberg’s Cancer Diagnosis
In his Instagram announcement on January 22nd, 2024, Sandberg indicated he has an advanced, spreading form of prostate cancer which has metastasized beyond his prostate.
|Metastatic Prostate Cancer
|Advanced – cancer spread beyond prostate
|Variable depending on response to treatment
|None mentioned explicitly
|January 22nd, 2024
|Sandberg said he will undergo treatment
The Cubs icon said he decided to share the news to “help raise awareness” about the disease which claims over 30,000 lives per year in the United States. He promised fans he would “continue to stay positive and become stronger to deal with the battle ahead.”
Reactions from the Baseball World
As one of the most popular players in Cubs history, Sandberg’s diagnosis prompted an outpouring of encouragement and support across social media.
Former Cubs teammates like Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston, and Mark Grace offered prayers and kind words. Grace called Sandberg “the fiercest competitor I’ve ever been around” and said “this is one battle he will win.”
The Cubs official Twitter account reacted to the “difficult news” saying “Our thoughts and best wishes are with Ryne and his family. We’re all rooting hard for you #23.”
MLB Network host Bob Costas tweeted that Sandberg “embodies professionalism, dedication, excellence. Wishing him the very best in this fight.”
Even fans of rival teams like the Cardinals and White Sox sent supportive messages, showing the widespread respect Sandberg commands. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot summed up the city’s collective sentiment tweeting “Chicago is behind you every step of the way!”
What Are Ryne Sandberg’s Chances for Beating This Cancer?
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among American men, particularly among older age groups like Sandberg. Over 248,000 new prostate cancer cases are diagnosed annually.
When caught early while still localized in the prostate, the 5-year survival rate is very favorable – approaching 100% according to American Cancer Society estimates.
However, Sandberg’s social media post indicates his prostate cancer has already metastasized to other parts of his body. This advancing form of prostate cancer is more difficult to treat.
Still, major advances have been made in managing metastatic prostate cancer. And Sandberg has the advantage of access to top medical care along with the grit and determination that pushed him into the Hall of Fame during 16 standout MLB seasons.
What to Expect Next for Ryne Sandberg
Sandberg said his doctors have already put together a treatment plan for him to follow. This will likely involve some combination of chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation treatments, or immunotherapy drugs.
The goal will be to slow and control the spread of the cancer while minimizing impacts to Sandberg’s quality of life. He did not provide specifics on whether he will step back from his analyst role covering Cubs baseball.
In the Instagram post, Sandberg asked fans to “respect my privacy as I go through my treatment plan over the next several weeks.” It’s probable that updates on his condition may be limited at times while treatment is ongoing.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts offered Sandberg use of the team’s state-of-the-art facilities in Arizona if helpful as part of his cancer treatment. Ricketts said “we’ll make sure Sandberg has access to whatever resources he may need in facing this challenge.”
Summarizing Ryne Sandberg’s Cancer Battle Ahead
The Cubs organization and its legions of fans are clearly all in the corner of the Hall of Famer. Sandberg will now begin what could be an intensive and lengthy fight against the disease.
Sandberg closed his announcement with trademark optimism, saying “I don’t know how this will end up, but I know I will continue to stay positive and become stronger to deal with the battle ahead. I appreciate your support.”
That fierce competitive fire and resolve which fueled his playing career appears intact. Sandberg is ready for another fight, and Cubs nation stands firmly behind their legendary second baseman.
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