Cubs legend Ron Santo died today in Arizona at the age of 70 of complications from bladder cancer. Ron spent 14 years in the Major Leagues at third base all but one with the Chicago Cubs. Ron Santo was well known for many things but being on the forefront of helping fight diabetes is what made him a hero not to just baseball fans but to everyone. Santo played 80% of his career with diabetes but concealed it for many reason. It eventually required the amputation of both his legs. He was a spoke person for JDRF and raised money and awareness for the disease that affects millions of people world wide.
During Ron Santo’s playing career he put great numbers. He batted .277 with a .362 OBP, 342 career HR, 365 2 baggers, in 2,243 games, all while battling diabetes. The other things that stuck out in his baseball career is his 5 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, he was 9 time All-Star, and Lou Gehrig Memorial Award winner. Santo lead baseball and the National League in so many categories during his era. Stats that were later passed by the great Mike Schmidt. Because of this there have been long debates on whether Ron Santo should or should not be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Most baseball fans in general agree he should be inducted while writers and the Veterans Committee disagree and have kept him out of the Hall since 1980 when he was first eligible. Ron Santo was a great baseball player and had his Cubs number 10 retired in 2003 saying “This is my Hall of Fame”
In 1990 the Cubs brought Ron Santo back to Chicago as the WGN radio color commentator working with play-by-play man Pat Hughes. From that day forward he brought my generation and other younger fans a glimpse into Ron Santo’s undying devotion to the Chicago Cubs. He was just like any typical Cub fan with the yelling, cheering, sadness, disappointment, and most importantly optimism. Not only do I think Ron Santo is a HOF player he is a HOF broadcaster. It just will not be the same tuning into WGN radio and not hearing Ronnie’s voice. He will be truly missed.
I was too young to see the Ron Santo era and did not have the privilege of meeting him but I like many fans, looked up to Ron Santo. He has accomplished so much in his life regardless of adversity. I will forever remember the times Ron giving it to Pat about the ugly sweaters he wears, the way Pat always insinuates that Ron has a ton of money, the day Ronnie yelled Ohhhhh Noooo! when Brant Brown dropped a fly ball against the Brewers, Pat taking about Ron’s rug, the celebration after the Cubs won the division in 2007, etc… We were truly blessed as fans to have Ron and Pat do Cubs game that is for sure.
Ron Santo was more than an announcer, an All-Star baseball player, and a Cubs fan; he was a fantastic person for everyone to look up to. He did so much for some many people and this is a very sad day for anyone who had a moment with Ron Santo. Ron is now clicking his heels in that Hall of Fame in the sky.
Thanks for everything Ron, you will be missed!