Ron Santo 1940-2010

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2010 at 4:13 am

I saw in the headlines yesterday that Ron Santo has passed away. The cause was complications from diabetes. In fact, Santo had battled diabetes for much of his life and several years ago both of his legs had to be amputated. Still, this did not stop Santo from pursuing a career in broadcasting and he endeared himself to Cubs fans as much in the broadcasting booth as he had on the field.

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to the Cubs visit to San Francisco because I would have the opportunity to see the powerful Cubs lineup including perennial all-stars Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo ( why the Cubs never won with this lineup, which included Don Kessigner, Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundly, Jim Hickman et al. is anyone’s guess). Santo was the power hitting National League third baseman, par excellence and always batted third in my wiffle ball lineup ( fortunately there was no fantasy baseball in those days, just wiffle ball). He played his entire career in Chicago, albeit his last year was with the White Sox and not the Cubs. Baseball fans of my vintage will always associate number 10 with Ron Santo.

Although putting up solid career numbers including 342 home runs and a lifetime .277 average ( much better numbers than Hall of Famer Joe Morgan can boast), Santo has always been passed over for induction into the Hall. Given the courage which he displayed, playing his entire career with diabetes and involving himself in numerous diabetes-related charities both during and after his playing days, Santo really deserves a place in Cooperstown. To think that one day the Hall will include players who disgraced the game with steroid use ( I am thinking here about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens) , while truly noble individuals like Ron Santo are excluded seems unfair. But then again, election to the Hall of Fame does not carry the same cachet as it used to so maybe we just shouldn’t care.

Anyway, Ron, thanks for the wonderful memories. You will be missed.


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