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On This Day in 1984: The Sandberg Game


Photo by Stephen Green

Thirty-one years ago today, Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg had arguably the most memorable game of his career. “The Sandberg Game” not only put the second baseman on the baseball map, it gave the 1984 Cubs the spark they needed to reach the postseason.

Impressive single-game performances by unproven players should generally be taken with a grain of salt. Over a long season, even the most below-average hitter or spottiest of spot starters occasionally has his day. Mario Mendoza, whose name is synonymous with offensive mediocrity, had one four-hit game in his major league career.

Sometimes, though, there is a perfect storm of circumstances that make a single-game performance stand out above the 162-game grind—a performance that launches a Hall of Fame career and helps define a player’s legacy.

On June 23, 1984, Ryne Sandberg had such a performance. His 5-for-6, seven-RBI outburst certainly looks impressive on paper, but his day was about much more than the stat sheet.

Start with the fact that he took the game’s elite closer deep twice, tying the game in both the ninth and 10th innings. Throw in the setting (a beautiful Saturday at Wrigley Field) and the matchup (an afternoon showdown against the NL East rival Cardinals). Consider the game’s viewership as NBC’s nationally televised Game of the Week. Finally, pile on the fame it brought Sandberg, the playoff boost it gave a struggling organization, and the sustained steady bump in attendance at Wrigley Field, and the Sandberg Game was a seminal moment in both his career and in the enduring popularity of the Chicago Cubs.

* * * *

“While the performance was great, the reason it resonates was that the context was so different,” said broadcaster Bob Costas, who was in his third year on NBC’s baseball broadcast team when he called the Sandberg Game in 1984.

The broadcast landscape was dramatically different in the mid-1980s. Sports on TV were not the 24-hour, 365-day-a-year industry they are today, and cable had not yet taken hold, so most viewers had limited options when it came to what they watched. The National Game of the Week on NBC was a big deal to both baseball and its fans. Every Saturday, the network arranged a premier game to be broadcast in an afternoon time slot, which meant it was often the only matchup going, as most clubs played their weekend games at night.

“The Game of the Week really was the Game of the Week then,” said Costas, who admitted the Sandberg Game was his favorite regular season broadcast of his illustrious career. “No matter how well a game is telecast today, there’s no one game outside of the postseason that rivets everyone’s attention.”

This combination of factors lent Wrigley Field a Monday Night Football-type atmosphere, with a huge audience tuning in and ratings reaching as high as 10, a number today’s postseason games struggle to match. Even with the WGN Superstation broadcasting Cubs games to viewers across the country, there was still reason to get excited about the weekly NBC tilt.

“There’s only one National Game of the Week on Saturday,” said former Cubs catcher Jody Davis, who started behind the plate that day. “Of course, you didn’t get to play in many every year, so you’re lucky to get into one.”

Sandberg shared similar sentiments and said he relished the idea of the national spotlight shining on him and his teammates for an afternoon.

“Every game on television was a big deal to me,” Sandberg said. “I knew that everybody back home was watching. That really got me fired up to play every game. It brought the most out of my abilities.”

* * * *

This particular Saturday was one of those picturesque afternoons that happen only a few times a summer. With temperatures in the low 80s and a slight breeze off the lake, Wrigley Field was made-for-TV perfection.

A series of roster moves—including the addition of right-hander Rick Sutcliffe just 10 days prior—was doing wonders for a team that hadn’t exactly lit up the decade. On the morning of  June 23, 1984, the Cubs sat 1.5 games out of first place and were in striking distance of their first postseason berth in 39 years, further raising expectations for the 38,000 fans in attendance and the millions of people tuning in across the nation. It didn’t hurt that the rival Cardinals, the 1982 world champs, were in town.

Steve Trout toed the rubber for the Cubs, but it wasn’t one of his better outings. The right-hander lasted just 1.1 innings and was on the hook for seven earned runs, spotting St. Louis an early six-run lead.

“You mean to tell me that because of me, [Sandberg] became [a key] in one of the most famous games ever,” Trout said with a laugh, reflecting on his start that afternoon.

Momentum temporarily shifted when the Cubs got two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but they promptly gave them both back in the top of the sixth. Trailing 9-3 entering the bottom of the inning, the North Siders injected some much-needed excitement into the stadium when they plated five behind a run-scoring single from Richie Hebner, a two-run double from Bobby Dernier and a two-run single from Sandberg.

Leading 9-8 with two outs in the seventh, St. Louis called out the big guns, enlisting lockdown closer Bruce Sutter to carry them the rest of the way. The eventual Hall of Famer, who would amass 300 saves in his stellar career, was the elite back-end arm of his generation, earning a Cy Young Award for his efforts in 1979 as a member of the Cubs. Sutter relied heavily on a split-finger fastball, a devastating pitch that was still new to players at the time.

“It was just a pitch that nobody had seen before,” Davis said of the splitter. “He brought [it] out, and nobody knew what it did. And he was the best at it. It was just really tough facing him, and he was a true competitor.”

Sutter fanned Gary Matthews to wrap up the seventh and set the Cubs down 1-2-3 in the eighth, putting an apparent damper on any comeback hopes. The outcome seemed a foregone conclusion as Sandberg stepped into the box to start the bottom of the ninth inning with the first and third basemen guarding the lines and the infield shifted slightly to the left side.

Sandberg was having a great season in 1984 and was already 3-for-4 on the day with four RBI. After two-plus major league years, he was seen as a good player with a solid glove at second, having claimed his first Gold Glove Award in 1983, but few had him pegged as an eventual Hall of Famer.

“Though he had already emerged as a very good player, he was still early in his career,” Costas said. “That one just propelled him onto the national stage.”

The first pitch came in low and away for ball one. Sandberg took the second pitch on the outside corner for a strike. But the third pitch was on the inner third of the plate, and Sandberg didn’t miss it, sending the ball screaming into the last row of the left-center-field bleachers.

Tie game. Extra innings.

“I said, ‘You know what this is, Tony? It’s a telephone game,’” Costas said, referring to his broadcast partner, Tony Kubek. “It’s the kind of game where as a baseball fan, you pick up the phone and call your baseball buddy, and you go, ‘Are you watching this? Put on NBC.’”

Cards outfielder Willie McGee was having quite a day himself, with a homer, triple and single to his credit. He’d already compiled five RBI and two runs heading into extra innings. The eventual 1985 NL MVP would complete the cycle with a run-scoring double in the top of the 10th and score two batters later, giving the Cards a two-run lead and shifting momentum back into the visitors’ dugout.

After two quick outs in the bottom of the 10th, Dernier took all six pitches he saw to record a full-count walk. As Costas and Kubek thanked the sponsors and crew for their day’s work, up stepped Ryno.

On the third pitch of the sequence, Costas bellowed: “He hits it to deep left-center. Look out! Do you believe it? It’s gone!”

With Sandberg’s bomb, Wrigley Field was up for grabs. The broadcast duo went silent for nearly a full minute to capture the jubilation of the ecstatic crowd.

“I’m sure there was a lengthy period where I called it as ‘gone,’ and we went quiet because the crowd and the pictures said everything,” Costas said. “We had just seen something that almost defied words. And I think the way the second home run was called, it was not just excitement, but amazement.”

* * * *

Just like that, Sandberg became a household name. Few remember that Dave Owen drove in the winning run an inning later on a bases-loaded single to complete the comeback and give the Cubs a 12-11 win.

“I went inside [the clubhouse], and I could barely get to my locker because there were so many people to talk to,” Sandberg said in the book Banks to Sandberg to Grace. “That was the start of my first experience with the media. It was pretty cool.”

With his talent on full display for the nation to see, Sandberg soon became a marquee attraction in Major League Baseball. The first example of his enhanced reputation came with the 1984 All-Star voting. In a matter of days, Ryno surpassed Steve Sax, who had been the leading vote-getter at the keystone position.

“That game really told me that I could do that,” Sandberg said. “It was really a different mind-set that game gave me, and it’s something I wanted to live up to—not only the rest of that year … but it also brought new standards for me each and every year, as far as winning a Gold Glove, a silver bat and an MVP.”

When the ’84 campaign came to a close, Sandberg was a nearly unanimous choice for National League MVP, capturing 22 of 24 first-place votes. According to FanGraphs, he compiled a Wins Above Replacement rating of 8.0, hitting .314/.367/.520 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 19 homers and a league-best 114 runs, all while playing a key middle-infield position at an elite level.

* * * *

The dramatic win didn’t benefit just the Cubs’ now-star second baseman. The team was showing signs of ending a 39-year postseason drought and used the comeback as a rallying cry for the season.

“That was kind of our exclamation point,” Davis said. “It was still early enough in the season. We were off to a good start, [and we were] in the pennant race, which fans weren’t too used to [us] being. The excitement was starting to build, and that day made all of the fans start to believe that we did have a chance.”

The team went 59-34 the rest of the way, including an 18-10 record in July and a 20-10 mark in August. They finished 31-24 in one-run ballgames and won 11 games in walk-off fashion en route to an NL-best 96 wins. The North Siders were fun to watch, and, for the first time in a long while, Wrigley Field became the hottest ticket in town, as more and more fans flocked to the North Side to see the miracle Cubs and their soon-to-be MVP second baseman.

“In ’84, the fans came alive, and you saw the first fans on the rooftops,” Sandberg said. “Just to see that whole transformation and see it be a tough ticket here for the rest of my career [was exciting].”

According to Baseball-Reference, the Cubs hit the 2 million mark in attendance for the first time ever that season. Individual game sales were up nearly 8,000 from the previous year and nearly 11,000 from 1982. At least 2 million people have attended games at Wrigley Field in all but three seasons since.

In that single game, a future Hall of Famer emerged from the shadows into full-fledged stardom, a dormant franchise was catapulted to its first postseason berth in nearly four decades, and the fan base was energized for decades to come.

—Phil Barnes

Cubs Lineup: 6/23/15

Cubs vs. Dodgers – Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 7:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Jason Hammel, RHP
Dodgers Starter: Zack Greinke, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

1. Chris Coghlan, LF
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Miguel Montero, C
5. Starlin Castro, SS
6. Mike Baxter, RF
7. Matt Szczur, CF
8. Jason Hammel, P
9. Addison Russell, 2B

Cubs Minor League Recap: 6/22/15

Mesa fell to 0-2 while Eugene again lost because of one big inning Monday. Tennessee, Myrtle Beach and South Bend were all enjoying the All-Star break, while Iowa had the day off. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league action:

Eugene Emeralds (1-4)
Northwest League (Short-Season A)
Fourth Place (-2.0)

Eugene gave up six runs in the eighth inning to surrender the lead and drop the game, 8-4.

  • RF Ricardo Marcano (.250) went 1-for-4 with a triple, two RBI (3) and one run scored.
  • 3B Adonis Paula (.316) went 2-for-4, scored once and plated one (4).
  • LHP Andin Diaz (4.50) fanned eight batters in 4.0 innings in his first start of the season. The Emeralds as a team struck out 17 batters in 8.0 innings.

Mesa Cubs (0-2)
Arizona League (Rookie)
Fifth Place (-2.5)

The Mesa Cubs were held to just four hits in a 4-1 setback against the AZL D-backs.

  • CF Roberto Caro (.286) went 1-for-4 and plated Mesa’s only run of the evening.
  • LHP Rob Zastryzny (2.25) allowed just one run on three hits in 4.0 innings of work in his first outing of the campaign.
  • Mesa was 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Tennessee Smokies All-Stars: Corey Black, Frank Batista, Willson Contreras, P.J. Francescon, Felix Pena and Dan Vogelbach

Myrtle Beach Pelicans All-Stars: Jeimer Candelario, Jonathan Martinez, Duane Underwood and Mark Zagunis

South Bend Pelicans All-Stars: Cael Brockmeyer, Charcer Burks, James Farris, Jeremy Null and Gleyber Torres

Cubs Lineup: 6/22/15

Cubs vs. Dodgers – Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 7:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Tsuyoshi Wada, LHP
Dodgers Starter: Clayton Kershaw, LHP
TV: WGN-TV; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Starlin Castro, SS
5. Chris Denorfia, RF
6. Matt Szczur, LF
7. David Ross, C
8. Tsuyoshi Wada, P
9. Addison Russell, 2B

Cubs Minor League Recap: 6/21/15

Tennessee, Myrtle Beach and South Bend all headed into the All-Star break with victories on Sunday. Iowa collected 15 hits in a losing effort, while one bad inning resulted in a Eugene loss. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (36-33)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-10.0)

Iowa collected 15 hits and scored eight runs, but dropped a 14-8 decision at Round Rock.

  • CF Rubi Silva (.273) went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer (6), a run scored and three RBI (26).
  • 2B Arismendy Alcantara (.267) went 3-for-6 with a double (10), a run scored and an RBI (24).
  • LF Junior Lake (.273) went 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and a stolen base (5). He has hit safely in four of five games (6-for-16) since returning to Iowa.

Tennessee Smokies (39-30)
Southern League (Double-A)
Second Place (-4.5)

Tennessee finished the season’s first half with its third straight win, a 9-2 triumph over Mississippi.

  • RHP Ryan Williams (2.53) gave up one earned run in 6.0 innings to pick up his third win.
  • 3B Mike Olt (.444) made his third rehab appearance, going 1-for-3 with a double (2), two walks and two runs scored. He is 4-for-9 with two doubles, one triple and five runs scored in the three games.
  • RHP Neil Ramirez (0.00) fanned all three batters he faced in his second rehab outing.
  • 2B Stephen Bruno (.290) went 3-for-4 with a double (7) and three RBI (26).
  • 1B Dan Vogelbach (.285) went 2-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI (31).
  • CF Jacob Hannemann (.220) has a four-game hitting streak (7-for-19) after going 2-for-5 with a run scored. He has six multi-hit games in his last 10 contests.
  • C Willson Contreras (.332) went 2-for-5 with two runs scored.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (41-28)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+3.5)

The Pelicans collected 12 hits to roll to a 4-1 victory over Lynchburg, completing the first half of the season. Myrtle Beach captured the First Half Southern Division Championship at 41-28.

  • RHP Daury Torrez (4.37) fanned five to pick up the win. He gave up one earned run in 6.0 innings of work.
  • DH Chesny Young (.364) went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored and is batting .366 (30-for-82) with 14 runs scored in 22 June contests.
  • LF Pin-Chieh Chen (.288) scored twice, going 2-for-4 with a walk.
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.273) extended his hitting streak to five games (7-for-18), going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Candelario is batting .300 (12-for-40) with six walks in 12 June games.

South Bend Cubs (29-38)
Midwest League (Low-A)
Eighth Place (-11.5)

South Bend won its second straight game to close out the season’s first half, defeating West Michigan, 5-1.

  • 1B Jesse Hodges (.249) went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (4), two runs scored and two RBI (21).
  • CF Rashad Crawford (.289) went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
  • LHP Tommy Thorpe tossed a season-high 5.0 innings, allowing just four hits and no walks.

Eugene Emeralds (1-3)
Northwest League (Short-Season A)
Fourth Place (-2.0)

Eugene allowed nine runs in the sixth inning, falling to Everett, 9-8.

  • CF Ian Happ (.308) homered for the second straight game (2), going 2-for-4 with a double (1), a home run, a walk, a run scored and an RBI (2).
  • 1B Varonex Cuevas (.455) reached base five times, going 4-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI (3).
  • LF Eloy Jimenez (.222) drove in four runs, going 2-for-5.
  • SS Ho-young Son (.267) went 2-for-5 with a double (3) and a run scored.

Cubs Lineup: 6/19/15

Cubs vs. Twins – Target Field
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. CST
Cubs Starter: Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Twins Starter: Phil Hughes, RHP
TV: WGN-TV; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Miguel Montero, C
5. Starlin Castro, SS
6. Chris Coghlan, LF
7. Chris Denorfia, RF
8. Kyle Schwarber, DH
9. Addison Russell, 2B

Cubs Minor League Recap: 6/18/15

Iowa looked impressive in a win, but South Bend gave up a run in the 10th for a loss. The Short-Season Eugene Emeralds also opened up their 2015 campaign yesterday, falling by a score of 6-1. Tennessee and Myrtle Beach were both rained out. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (35-31)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Second Place (-9.0)

Iowa snapped a two-game skid with a 7-2 victory at Round Rock.

  • RHP Carlos Pimentel (3.45) gave up one earned run in 6.1 innings, striking out four to pick up the win.
  • C Rafael Lopez (.292) went 3-for-5 with a run scored.
  • 3B Christian Villanueva (.273) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double (11) and two RBI (30).
  • LF Adron Chambers (.285) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double (13) and two RBI (16).
  • CF John Andreoli (.316) went 2-for-5 with a run scored and one RBI (10).

South Bend Cubs (27-37)
Midwest League (Low-A)
Eighth Place (-11.5)

Visiting Dayton tallied a run in the 10th inning to beat South Bend, 2-1.

  • RHP Jake Stinnett (5.29) pitched 6.0 scoreless innings, fanning four in the no-decision.
  • 1B Yasiel Balaguert (.303) and C Cael Brockmeyer (.297) both had three hits apiece.
  • LF Charcer Burks (.262) went 2-for-5 with two doubles (12) and one RBI (22).
  • RHP David Garner (5.40) fired 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, striking out three hitters.

Eugene Emeralds (0-1)
Northwest League (Short-Season A)

Eugene began the 2015 campaign with a 6-1 setback at Everett.

  • LHP Carson Sands (3.60) gave up two earned runs in 5.0 innings, striking out two.
  • RF Eloy Jimenez (.500) went 2-for-4 with an RBI (1).
  • SS Ho-Young Son (.333) reached base twice, going 1-for-3 with a run scored, a double and a walk.
  • LHP Sam Wilson struck out two hitters in 1.2 scoreless innings of relief.

Cubs Seventh Homestand Events and Promotions: 6/22/15-6/25/15


Comedian Tom Dreesen throws out the first pitch at Wrigley Field. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs will make a brief return trip home to host the Dodgers from June 22-25.

The Cubs 2015 Special Group Nights kick off Tuesday, June 23, as teachers and their family members are invited to celebrate the start of summer during the fifth annual Teacher Appreciation Night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are offering $30 tickets in the Terrace Reserved Outfield to teachers and their family members to watch the Cubs take on the Dodgers at 7:05 p.m. Participants will receive a commemorative messenger bag.

The fun continues Wednesday, June 24, as youth baseball and softball teams are invited to catch a game together at the Friendly Confines during this year’s Youth Baseball and Softball Appreciation Night. The Cubs are offering $24 tickets in the Terrace Reserved Outfield for youth baseball and softball teams and their families. Participants will receive a Cubs rope twist necklace. To learn more about the Cubs 2015 Special Group Nights and to purchase tickets, visit

In addition, the Cubs will help raise awareness for autism spectrum disorders with a special group promotion June 24. Tickets for this promotion can be purchased online. A portion of the proceeds from each ticket purchased for this promotion will be donated to Autism Speaks.

The Cubs and Cubs Charities continue this year’s “Let’s Give” charitable campaign during the homestand. On Wednesday, June 24, the Cubs leadership team and front office associates will host a signing ceremony for the incoming 2015 Cubs Scholars class and celebrate the college selections of the 2014 graduate class in Wrigley Field’s Audi Club. The Cubs Scholars program, launched in 2013, offers Chicago inner-city high school students financial contributions and a team-sponsored mentorship program designed to promote academic achievement and post-secondary educational advancement.

Also, the Hornitos Hacienda—formerly the Left-Field Well—will make its debut during the homestand as Hornitos becomes the Official Tequila of the Chicago Cubs and naming rights partner of the recently launched left-field group space.

The Hornitos Hacienda features space close to the field in the first two rows above the left-field wall with designated standing room and limited seating for groups of approximately 15-50 fans. This space offers guests the best view in the Budweiser Bleachers to catch all the action and is perfect for bachelor/bachelorette parties and special events. The Hornitos Hacienda is available for group reservations by calling 773-404-4242.

As part of the partnership, Hornitos will have a branding presence at Wrigley Field, including signage on the left-field wall and in-game promotion on the left-field video board.

Hornitos Tequila, which has been available in the enhanced Budweiser Bleachers since their reopening in May, will continue to be available for fans in the bleachers. Premium cocktails featuring Hornitos Tequila also will be available at various locations throughout the ballpark.

Tickets remain available for the upcoming homestand at or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827). Highlights of the homestand follow.

Guests and Entertainment:
On Monday, June 22, University of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly will throw a first pitch and lead the seventh-inning stretch.

On Tuesday, June 23, former Chicago Bears tight end Tim Wrightman will throw a first pitch.

Comedian and Chicago native Tom Dreesen will throw a first pitch and lead the seventh-inning stretch Thursday, June 25.

Food Specials:
This homestand, the Decade Diner located in the right-field concourse will serve an Asian Pork Burger featuring a pork burger patty glazed with sweet chili sauce and Asian slaw on a toasted Hawaiian bun. The Salmon Burger homestand special features a grilled salmon burger, candied red onions, avocado, arugula and herb aioli.

Homestand Recap, June 22-25:
Monday, June 22 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 7:05 p.m.

  • The newly named Hornitos Hacienda will make its debut
  • First pitch and seventh-inning stretch: University of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly
  • Broadcast: WGN, WBBM 780-AM,

Tuesday, June 23 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Group Night: Fifth Annual Teacher Appreciation Night
  • First pitch: Former Chicago Bears tight end Tim Wrightman
  • Broadcast: CSN, WBBM 780-AM,

Wednesday, June 24 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Group Night: Youth Baseball and Softball Appreciation Night
  • Broadcast: CSN, ESPN2, WBBM 780-AM, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio,

Thursday, June 25 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 1:20 p.m.

  • First pitch and seventh-inning stretch: Comedian and Chicago native Tom Dreesen
  • Broadcast: WLS, MLBN, WBBM 780-AM, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio,

Cubs Lineup: 6/18/15


In his first major league start, rookie Kyle Schwarber went 4-for-5 with a triple, three runs scored and two RBI. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty)

Cubs vs. Indians – Progressive Field
First Pitch: 6:10 p.m. CST
Cubs Starter: Jason Hammel, RHP
Indians Starter: Danny Salazar, RHP
TV: CSN; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Miguel Montero, C
5. Starlin Castro, SS
6. Chris Coghlan, LF
7. Chris Denorfia, RF
8. Kyle Schwarber, DH
9. Addison Russell, 2B

Cubs sign top pick Ian Happ

Ian-Happ(Photo courtesy University of Cincinnati)

The Chicago Cubs today announced they have signed outfielder Ian Happ, the club’s first-round pick (ninth overall) of the 2015 Draft. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Overall, the Cubs have signed 10 selections (including Happ): left-hander Ryan Kellogg (fifth round), right-hander Dave Berg (sixth round), right-hander Craig Brooks (seventh round), infielder Vimael Machin (10th round), infielder Blake Headley (20th round), right-hander Jared Cheek (21st round), left-hander John Williamson (23rd round), catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni (25th round) and infielder Angelo Amendolare (27th round).

Happ, 20, batted .369 (73-for-198) with 47 runs scored, 18 doubles, 14 home runs and 44 RBI for the Cincinnati Bearcats this season. He walked 49 times to contribute to a .492 on-base percentage, and his .672 slugging mark gave him a 1.164 OPS. Happ led the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and tied for the lead in walks. He also led his team in runs, hits, doubles, homers and RBI.

Named a semifinalist for the 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, the switch-hitting Happ was recognized as the 2015 AAC Player of the Year, named First-Team Academic All-American, Second-Team Louisville Slugger All-American and was a unanimous First-Team All-Conference member as voted on by the league’s head coaches. He was listed as one of the top three pure college hitters in this year’s draft by Baseball America.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Happ batted .338 (194-for-574) with 120 runs, 44 doubles, two triples, 25 home runs and 107 RBI in three seasons at Cincinnati. He drew more walks (128) than strikeouts (116), contributing to a .463 on-base percentage, and, along with his .552 slugging mark, has recorded a 1.015 OPS through his junior season. Happ has seen time in both right field and center field, as well as at second base, third base and shortstop.


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