Ron Santo

Some of my best childhood memories from the 60s and 70s include going to Wrigley Field with my dad to watch the Chicago Cubs play baseball. The Cubs, even though they haven’t played in World Series since God knows when, will always be the definition of baseball to me.
Being a Cub fan has been handed down generation to generation in my family. My dad grew up in Chicago in the 20s and 30s and went to Cub games with his dad. I’ve followed the Cubs since my childhood, and my son is a Cub fan, even though he has been raised in Tennessee.
As a child I learned about loyalty being a Cub fan.
I’ve seen them lose at the worst possible times. I went to Cub games at Wrigley with dad in some of their best seasons of 1969, 1984 and 1989. I watched them on TV come SO close to going to the World Series.
After seeing all of those huge losses, nothing hurt me as much as hearing the news that the Cubs’ legendary 3rd baseman, Ron Santo #10, passed away.
That is a big loss for the Cubs and Cub fans.
Ron was as big of a Cub fan as their could ever be. He was always a Cub at heart and announced for them on WGN Radio. Any Cub fan has a special place in their heart for Ron Santo.
I’m sure I could go and pull down all the great stats from his career to prove how wonderful he was and how much he deserved to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But to me that doesn’t matter. Ron was a player and a person of the heart.
From 1960 to 1973 Ron gave his all to the team on the field. After retirement he came back to the Cubs for radio announcing in 1990 and gave them his all for 20 years on the air.
He had so many bad health conditions related to diabetes, he had open heart surgery, even had to have both his legs amputated and had bladder cancer. However, the Chicago Cubs and the fans were his life.
Although I didn’t get to listen to his broadcasting much as an adult, his on air remarks have become legendary. Ron, a true Cub fan, would react to plays, triumphant or tragic, from the heart. He always rooted for his team.
As a child, Ron was one of my biggest heroes. Often times while alone, I would wear my Cub hat, run through the yard and pretend I was Ron, rounding 3rd base heading for home plate.
I would throw a tennis ball against our garage door, run up to catch it as it bounced back and imagine I was Ron tagging the runner out as he slid into 3rd base. I played little league baseball every year from the age of 7 until I was 14.
To hear about Ron Santo dying is to me like losing a part of my childhood. I know the fans up in Wrigley and the Chicago area will miss him dearly.
It’s hard to lose a childhood hero. Someone you looked up to. Someone who was amazing both on and off the field.
I sure would like to go to Wrigley and watch a Cub game with dad.
Losing a childhood hero is painful because it’s a reminder of your own mortality and a reminder that sometimes, everything is not okay.
This article in the Northwest Indiana Times about sums it all up about the passing of Ron Santo.
The first thought that came to my mind when I heard Ron Santo passed away was, “Oh no … Not Ron Santo.”
May you rest in peace, Ron. Ol’ Wrigley won’t be the same without you.