Thoughts and tears.
#10. Third Base-MAN. Love of Wrigley Field. Putting his favorite charity, JDRF and Juvenile Diabetes on the map to show that athletes can deal with the disease. Ron's partner, Pat Hughes (Ron's been in the booth since 1990). Brant Brown, that gut wrenching, "oh-no" overlapping Pat's "he dropped the ball". Aw, Jeez. Entrepreneur and Restauranteur. Ron Santo Pizza. Acapulco Taco Pie. Williams-Santo-Banks. Rebel pal Randy and the real highlight of fantasy camps. Roomie Glen Beckert. Flaming Gamer, Pat: "there's smoke billowing out of the top of his head" (audio link). The classic Jack Brickhouse call was music to my ears: "back, back, back, Hey-Hey, a homer by Santo." Harry Caray asking Ron, "when you go to bed at night with your lovely wife do you wear your toupee?" Cub captain. Leo Durocher. Don Young. Belly flop slides into second base. Clicking Heels. Pat Hughes broadcast introduction: "Along with nine time All-Star, five time Gold Glove winner and Cub Legend..."
Ronnie's gone. He slipped into a coma Wednesday and passed away in the early hours of the morning on Friday reportedly due to complications of bladder cancer.
Paul Sullivan has one of the earlier confirmations online but I've listened to WGN radio interviews with David Kaplan and Spike O'Dell reminiscing. Overnight host on WSCR, Les Grobstein clearly struggled with his sadness when he heard the news.
In one of the greatest tributes a son can give his dad, Jeff Santo's movie "This Old Cub" gave us the insight as to just what made Ron tick. Ron Santo was what loving the Cubs is all about.
Thank you to Ron. We are honored that you shared so much of yourself with us.
UPDATE: Rob's thoughts after the jump, just trying to keep all this in one place.
I never met the man, but I felt like he was a dear friend.
He was a Cub - true and true - player, broadcaster, fan. He lived the life that thousands of us dream of as children.
I didn't grow up watching him play, but I know I would have enjoyed it. Every rain-delay highlight, every Hall of Fame clip montage was a window into what should have been a Hall of Fame career.
We spilled lots of digital ink defending Santo's Hall of Fame case (well reader dcf did). I'm not sure the Hall of Fame deserves him now. It would almost feel like a cruel joke now. His words the day his number was retired, "This is my Hall of Fame" were pitch perfect.
The call - oh the call - funny, sad, relatable; the voice of thousands of Cubs fans funneled through his microphone.
His struggles with diabetes, his spirit and humor about his predicament were always inspiring to me.
I encourage everyone to read through the comments of this post and Arizona Phil's below. It's a celebration of his life and his accomplishments and most importantly, the memories he gave us watching the Cubs.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.