In an era of big-hitting shortstops, classic middle infielders like Sanchez often got lost in the media shuffle. Beginning his career with the Chicago Cubs in 1991, the 5’9″, 170-pound Sanchez always relied on his mitt to provide sparkle while competently batting at least .270 in all but one (1993) of his major-league seasons. His short stroke lent itself to the precise hitting required to move a runner over or punch a single through the infield, but totally robbed him of power. When he hit a home run off of New York Mets pitcher Bill Pulsipher on July 3, 1995 it was his first since August 29, 1992.
After seven years with the Cubs, Sanchez spent time with the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants before becoming the on-field leader of the youthful Kansas City Royals. In KC he enjoyed a hitting surge, batting .294 in 1999 and then batting .300 in 2000 before getting sent to the Atlanta Braves, who were in desperate need of a solid shortstop to replace the injured Rafael Furcal.