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City of Stars
Steve Rushin
July 27, 1992
In the town of Spokane, three boys—Mark Rypien, Ryne Sandberg and John Stockton—grew up within a few miles and a few years of one another. They have risen to fame and fortune in the pros but remain tied to home in very different ways
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July 27, 1992

City Of Stars

In the town of Spokane, three boys—Mark Rypien, Ryne Sandberg and John Stockton—grew up within a few miles and a few years of one another. They have risen to fame and fortune in the pros but remain tied to home in very different ways

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The Snappy became Joey's Tavern in 1947, and though Jack Stockton and Dan Crowley bought the place in '61 from the guy who had bought it from Joey, they waited 14 years before renaming the joint Jack & Dan's. Why mess with success? Business has always been good, what with Gonzaga University a block away.

Business has always been good, but in the last five years, well, Jack & Dan's has been served a double. So Jack, 64, is here at nine this morning, smack in the middle of his summer vacation, to check on construction of the beer garden being added out back. No problem, really, as Jack lives 150 yards from the bar's back door, in the white house with the redbrick accents and the basketball hoop in the driveway. There, on North Superior, he and Clementine provided for their four children, provided for them with the Budweiser-soaked dollars that crossed the bar.

"The beer garden is for the Olympics," says Jack, straining to be heard as a jack-hammer solos outside. "It's going to be crazy here during the Olympics."

Setting them up and knocking them back? Why, it's the other way around. Jack's patrons will be knocking them back in Spokane, while Jack's second son, John, is setting them up in Barcelona. On loan from the Utah Jazz, for whom he has started for the past five seasons, 30-year-old John Stockton is a point guard on his nation's Dream Team, one of the dozen or so best basketball players in the world....

Make a right out of Jack & Dan's, go seven blocks north on Hamilton and hang a left on West Augusta, and it is just down the road on your left: the old two-story house with the barn-style roof and expansive front porch, the house where Derwent and Elizabeth Sandberg lived with their four children. Derwent, that was his name, and now you know why everybody called him Sandy.

Sandy Sandberg was a mortician who left his work behind at the Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home on North Monroe, making no effort to pass that most familial of occupations along to his sons. "He pretty much kept that to himself," says the youngest of his three boys.

When Elizabeth was nine months pregnant with that child in September 1959, she and Sandy could settle only on a name for a girl. But the couple was watching a New York Yankee game on television one night, and when they heard the announcer roll out the name of the right-handed relief pitcher walking in from the bullpen, well....

"We looked at each other and knew that would be the name if the baby was a boy," says Elizabeth. And why not? The last time she had given birth, five years earlier in Philadelphia, the boy was named Del, for Phillie slugger Del Ennis. So now Del would have a baby brother, a baby brother named for Ryne Duren.

"My father loved baseball," explains Ryne Dee Sandberg, now 32. "He was a fan of all sports. We never had a lot of money, but he always had enough to buy me a glove and spikes. He has had a lot to do with this."

Funny, isn't it? Now they're free, the gloves and spikes; now, after he signed a contract for $7.1 million annually in this, his 10th year playing second base for the Chicago Cubs; now, when Ryne Sandberg finds himself somewhere between boyhood and a bronze bust in the Baseball Hall of Fame....

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