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.