Results tagged ‘ alumni ’
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The last time Ryne Sandberg was in the Wrigley Field dugout as a visitor was in 1981 when he was a rookie with the Philadelphia Phillies. On Friday afternoon, he’ll return as the Phillies’ manager, when the Cubs open a three-game set with Philadelphia on Friday. Sandberg spent 15 years in Cubbie blue during his Hall of Fame career. He went to 10 All-Star games, won nine Gold Gloves and was the 1984 NL MVP.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Every month, Vine Line checks in with Cubs alumni in our Glory Days section. For the August issue, we caught up with former pitcher and broadcaster Dave Otto. The lanky left-hander, who pitched eight major league seasons, had the good fortune to finish his career playing for his hometown Cubs. The father of three grew up in Elk Grove, Ill., and now lives in the western Chicago suburbs. When his boyhood hero Ron Santo became ill and needed a day off from time to time, Otto was there to handle the mic as color commentator for WGN Radio. Though he’s out of baseball now, Otto hopes to get back into uniform someday as a coach.
“I work for Best Transportation Services, a small transportation company in Chicago, as director of sales and marketing. But there’s a point down the road where I’ll probably get back down on the field as a coach. I had a lot of great pitching coaches—Dave Duncan and Ray Miller. So I’d like to pass on some of that. The game gets in your blood.”
“The first time I walked into Wrigley was probably 1968 or ’69. I have a vague memory of it, but the place is timeless. I used to go with my grandma for Ladies’ Day. As a player, there were times where I’d look out and remember where I used to sit as a kid. That was kind of cool.”
“I was left-handed and I didn’t play third base, but Ron Santo was somebody I just loved to watch. He was such a bulldog. I tried to emulate Ken Holtzman. He had that big curveball and turned his back to the hitter. I tried to hide the ball real well like that.”
“I was in minor league camp during Spring Training after I signed with the Cubs. The big league team would call over a couple of extra pitchers just in case the guys scheduled to pitch couldn’t fill out their innings. A couple of times, I’d just go over to HoHoKam. Yosh [Kawano, the clubhouse manager] would give me a uniform, and I’d just show up to practice there. I remember one time manager Tom Trebelhorn said, ‘Hey, we don’t have you scheduled here.’ And I said, ‘Somebody over there told me you wanted me over here.’ And so I’d sit in the bullpen, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t get into the game. That happened twice!”
“I started the year off in Triple-A. They flew me in for an exhibition game against the White Sox at Wrigley, and then I flew back to Des Moines. So I gave up a hit to Michael Jordan. He hit a fastball. I didn’t want to walk him. He also got a hit off of Chuck Crim, so I wasn’t the only one.”
“On my first day as a Cub, Trebelhorn was having a firehouse chat after the game with fans. A week after that, they showed up with a billy goat that they were walking around on the field. Then Ryne Sandberg retired in the middle of the season. We were getting on a flight to the West Coast while he was holding a press conference. And the whole O.J. Simpson thing was going down then too. Crazy year.”