Leader by Example

Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg inspires Cooperstown-area students as part of BASE program

October 05, 2012
Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and Cooperstown area sixth graders pose for a picture in the BASE exhibit. (Milo Stewart, Jr./NBHOF Library)

On Thursday, Ryne Sandberg was named the Philadelphia Phillies’ third base coach for the 2013 season.

Twenty-four hours later, Sandberg was visiting school kids in Central New York – espousing the values of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s new BASE program and inspiring the next generation of athletes and leaders.

For Sandberg, it was all part of his commitment to Be A Superior Example.

“In today’s world, taking a shortcut is not going to get you where you need to go,” said Sandberg to 7th-through-12th graders assembled in the gymnasium at Richfield Springs Central School – just a stone’s throw up the road from Cooperstown. “I spent six years managing in the minor leagues so I could get back to the majors. People ask me all the time why I wanted to do that – to start over – but now it’s here and the six years seemed like no time at all.

“Anything worthwhile is worth working for.”

Sandberg, a 2005 Hall of Fame inductee following a stellar career with the Cubs and Phillies, also visited Oneonta High School, where he connected with students on a personal level.

“I remember sitting in your seat when I was in high school, trying to figure out what I was going to do,” said Sandberg, who fielded questions about fear and failure during both of his stops. “My biggest fear was the fear of failing. I remember when I started my big league career (in a slump) and thought that I’d never get a hit. I used to be scared to death to take a test in school.

“But I learned to use the fear as motivation to do what I needed to do to get better.”

Sandberg touched on all four components of the Be A Superior Example program: Fitness, nutrition, character and fair play. The Hall of Fame’s new online BASE registry debuted this week, and participants can pledge to lead a life of healthy choices by registering at www.beasuperiorexample.org.

On Saturday, Sandberg will be featured in a Hall of Fame Voices of the Game program at 1 p.m. at the Museum in Cooperstown. Museum visitors can purchase tickets to the Voices of the Game program at the Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Craig Muder is the director of communications at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum