---- — Ryne Sandberg turned an unquenchable work ethic and unwavering dedication into a Hall of Fame playing career with the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies.
Now as a minor league manager, Sandberg is preaching those same values — including promoting the value of healthy lifestyle choices featured in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s new “Be A Superior Example” initiative — to a new generation of players.
As part of its fifth annual salute to Character and Courage, and in conjunction with the museum’s nationwide launch of the BASE program, the Hall of Fame will welcome Sandberg back to Cooperstown and share his stories of sportsmanship and integrity through a variety of programs, highlighted by an 1 p.m. “Voices of the Game” event in the Grandstand Theater on Saturday.
The 2012 Character and Courage Weekend celebration, taking place Oct. 5-7, is dedicated to the national launch of the BASE program — the new educational outreach initiative designed to promote healthy habits for individuals of all ages.
In addition to his participation in the program for museum visitors, Sandberg will also deliver the keynote address at a skills clinic on Saturday morning, for young athletes ages 7-18, with a special message promoting the values of sportsmanship, integrity and fair play. The clinic, which begins at 10:30 a.m. and features several activity stations promoting exercise and fitness, is free for museum visitors, but participants must register in advance by calling 547-0397. The clinic will be led by area educators, and Sandberg will deliver the concluding message of the program.
“BASE” promotes the benefits of four foundations — fitness, nutrition, character and fair play — to represent each of the four bases on the diamond. The program also educates students and adults about the dangers of performance-enhancing substances.
“It’s a daily commitment,” Sandberg, a 2005 Hall of Fame inductee who has managed the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs of the Phillies organization for the last two seasons, said in a media release. “It’s a dedication. It’s about getting the right nutrition. It’s about getting rest. It’s about taking care of your body because ultimately your body is going to be performing for you not only for a baseball season but in life in general.”
Today, Sandberg will help the Hall of Fame launch a national registry featured in the BASE program that allows for participants to sign a life pledge to live and play free of performance-enhancing substances following the conclusion of online education material from the BASE program, which is available online at beasuperiorexample.org. The national registry will live in Cooperstown, allowing those who have made the pledge to see their names when visiting the museum, alongside the game’s greats.
Sandberg will also visit area Otsego County schools on Friday to share these messages of healthy living with area middle and high school students as a part of his appearance in Cooperstown.
“Performance enhancing drugs are very dangerous, lethal, and they are against the rules in professional baseball,” Sandberg said in the release. “Baseball does not need players to take shortcuts and to be misled that illegal drugs helps their performance and that they have anything to gain from that.”
A ticket is required for the Oct. 6 “Voices of the Game” event and costs $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available by calling 547-0397. For more information on Character and Courage Weekend, visit www.baseballhall.org .