Ron Santo 1940-2010
Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo died last night here in Arizona.
A native of Washington, Santo signed with the Cubs prior to the 1959 season, was brought up to the big leagues as a 20-year old in mid-season 1960 after only one full season in the minor leagues, was immediately installed at the hot corner (replacing Don Zimmer), and never looked back. He hit 277/362/464 with 342 HR over a 15 year career spanning 2243 games. He won five Gold Gloves at 3B (1964-68), and was a nine-time All-Star. He did all this while battling diabetes. He was traded to the White Sox (for Steve Stone and three others) after the 1974 season when the "Durocher Cubs" were dismantled, and spent his final MLB season on the South Side. But his heart always belonged to the Cubs.
Santo joined WGN Radio as a Cubs broadcaster in 1990, and just recently completed his 21st year behind the mike. While his emotional style of broadcasting irritated some Cubs fans, there is no denying his sincerity. He lived and died with each Cub win and loss.
Santo had battled numerous physical prioblems over the past few years, including cardiac by-pass surgery, bladder cancer, and complications from his diabetes that resulted in amputation of both legs. He also had to deal with the continual disappointment of not getting elected to the Hall of Fame.
Despite the medical problems and other disappointments in his life (not the least of which was the Cubs failing to get to the World Series), Ronnie always was upbeat and as physically active as he could be under the circumstances.
I became a Cub fan in 1960 when I was six years old. So Ron Santo and I go back a long way.