CHICAGO — On the 40th anniversary of his most famous game, Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg was immortalized outside Wrigley Field as the team unveiled a statue of his likeness in an afternoon ceremony Sunday.

Sandberg, 64, was feted in front of friends, family and former teammates, while current Cubs looked on from the second level of the stadium concourse. Both his double-play partners at shortstop — Larry Bowa and Shawon Dunston — were in attendance and spoke to the crowd, which included legions of Cubs and Sandberg fans.

“This guy wanted to win more than anyone I played with,” Bowa said.

Sandberg was a nine-time Gold Glove winner, seven-time Silver Slugger and 10-time All-Star. He hit 282 home runs at a time when second basemen didn’t possess a lot of power.

“I was an opposite-field hitter my first two years,” Sandberg said after the ceremony. “[Manager] Jim Frey wanted me to turn on some fastballs on fastball counts. ‘If it doesn’t work you can go back to your way.’ I did it and learned how to cover the inside pitch and hit some home runs. It was instant results.”

Sandberg also had that rare combination of power and speed as he stole 344 bases over his 16-year career. The entirety of his game landed him in the Hall of Fame in 2005.

“All of us want to impact the game in every way,” Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner said Sunday. “I’ve always wanted to do that. He’s one that did that for his entire career which is incredible.”

There was some doubt that Sandberg would even be able to attend his own statue ceremony; between the time the team announced it was honoring him and Sunday’s unveiling, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. But just last month, he declared he was cancer-free.

“This was a guarantee for me,” he said of attending. “I reverted back to my baseball days of having goals and my attitude of working towards something. That’s what I’ve done.”

The honor comes exactly 40 years after he hit two home runs off Hall of Fame closer Bruce Sutter in the same game — one in the ninth inning and one in the tenth — helping secure his MVP award that season as well as the Cubs’ division title. Just two years earlier — as a rookie — Sandberg began his career 0-for-31, fearing he’d be sent back to the minors.

“I was in Triple-A just the year before,” Sandberg said. “I knew how that went.”

He never did go back down as he dominated at the plate and in the field leading to the honor of a lifetime. His statue will forever stand next to Hall of Fame Cubs Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Fergie Jenkins.

Sandberg was asked if the day lived up to his expectations.

“Can’t really say it’s what I thought,” he said with a smile. “It’s more than what I thought.

“What an awesome day. Incredible.”