Again, the End of the Ryne in Chicago
Ryne Sandberg retired again Sunday, this time for good, after going zero for two in his final game as the Chicago Cubs lost to the Cardinals, 2-1, at St. Louis.
The second baseman, who retired for the first time in June 1994 and sat out all of 1995, said he won’t be tempted to come back next year when spring training rolls around.
“It’ll hit me in December or January, but I won’t be back,” Sandberg said. “I have other things to do.”
Sandberg was removed after taking the field in the bottom of the third. He finished with 282 home runs, tied with the late Ken Boyer for 86th place on baseball’s career list.
Sandberg, 38, set several team records in addition to hitting more home runs as a second baseman, 277, than any other major leaguer.
Cub Manager Jim Riggleman said Sandberg’s leadership by example will be missed.
“He’s a quiet guy who has set a great example,” Riggleman said. “He shows the players how to go about their business.
“He shows them, ‘This is how you take ground balls, this is how you take batting practice.’ ”
Sandberg said he has no plans to be involved in baseball.
Cincinnati 11, Montreal 3--Mike Remlinger almost put a perfect ending on the Reds’ season, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning before settling for a four-hitter at Montreal.
“I wasn’t too concerned with it,” Remlinger said of the perfect game. “I knew what was going on, but it wasn’t predominant in my mind. I’ve seen I don’t know how many no-hitters and perfect games broken up in the last out, let alone the last two innings.”
Remlinger (8-8) retired the first 20 batters before rookie Jose Vidro hit a two-out double to left-center in the seventh.
“He had his good fastball and good control,” Red Manager Jack McKeon said. “That’s the key. When he’s been good, it’s been when he’s had good control. The times he gets in trouble is when he walks guys.”
Remlinger matched a career-high with nine strikeouts and walked three, improving to 2-0 with a 1.88 earned-run average in his final seven starts. He lost his shutout bid when the Expos scored three runs in the eighth.
New York 8, Atlanta 2--John Olerud possibly playing his last game in New York, hit a three-run homer against Denny Neagle to lift the Mets over the NL East champion Atlanta Braves.
Olerud, eligible to become a free agent after the season, broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning with his 22nd homer.
The victory ended a special year for the Mets, who surprised many by hanging in the NL wild-card race until the final week. After the last out, there were long hugs and a few tears as they gathered near the dugout to watch a video tribute of their surprising season.
“I was crying,” said Carlos Baerga. “Nobody thought this team would win 88 games. It was a super season for us.”
Before the game, Olerud said he had spoken with Met General Manager Steve Phillips about his plans for next season and said he would consider New York one of his options.
New York, which has been rumored to be interested in pursuing Boston’s Mo Vaughn, now must decide about whether to re-sign Olerud. In his first season with the Mets after coming over in a trade from Toronto, Olerud provided solid defense at first base while driving in 102 runs.
Neagle was hoping to add another victory to his Cy Young resume, but lost his second consecutive start in his final tuneup for the postseason. The left-hander will likely start Game 4 for the Braves in the opening round of the playoffs against Houston.
Pittsburgh 5, Houston 4--Jose Guillen homered, drove in three runs and scored the winning run in the 11th inning at Houston as the Pirates beat the NL Central champion Astros.
The Astros will open their first playoff series in 11 years Tuesday against the East champion Braves at Atlanta.
Houston Manager Larry Dierker used six pitchers and every position player except outfielder Chuck Carr.
The Pirates wound up 79-83 and in second place in the Central, five games behind Houston. Pittsburgh finished last in 1996 at 73-89.
Philadelphia 8, Florida 7--Rex Hudler’s solo homer in the seventh inning, the fifth homer of the game, lifted the Phillies over the playoff-bound Marlins at Philadelphia.
Gary Sheffield hit a grand slam for the Marlins, who lost two of three in their final series of the season. They will play host to the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the NL playoffs.
The Phillies finished 68-94, their fourth consecutive losing season, but went 44-33 after the All-Star break.
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BESTS OF THE DAY BATTING
Player Team Performance Team’s Result Mark McGwire St. Louis 58th home run, 2 RBIs Win Gary Sheffield Florida 2 for 3, 5 RBIs Loss Mike Piazza Dodgers 2 for 3, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs Loss John Olerud New York 2 for 3, home run, 4 RBIs Win
Player Team Performance Team’s Result Mike Remlinger Cincinnati 9 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 9 strikeouts Win Steve Trachsel Chicago 7 innings, 1 earned run, 3 strikeouts Loss