Woke up to the sad news that Ron Santo passed away at the age of 70. Sad for me and fellow Cubs fans that we’ll no longer hear him on the radio, optimistically helping us through mostly bad seasons. Sad for him in that now the only way for him in to the Hall of Fame is the only way he didn’t want to go in: posthumously. Sad for all parties that he’ll never see the Cubs win, or even get to, a World Series.
Others will detail better than I could the case for him to be in the Hall, or the amount of money and awareness he raised for diabetes.
Rather, the fact that this happened the same night LeBron pulled a Mola Ram on Cleveland and pretended it was no big deal got me thinking that he and Ronnie are the opposite ends of the former player spectrum. From the story linked above:
“He absolutely loved the Cubs,” said Santo’s broadcast partner, Pat Hughes. “The Cubs have lost their biggest fan.”
To anyone who’s listened to him on the radio, the response is “Well, yeah, obviously.” And it is true. But it’s really rare for a former athlete to be passionate about their franchise the way a fan would be. As Ken Berger writes from Cleveland, it’s borderline nonsensical and certainly unrealistic to expect athletes to emulate the full-on, into-the-deep-end, no-strings-attached devotion that is standard operating practice for most of us spectators. But Ron did (And they traded him. To the White Sox!). And it seemed as if the longer he was around the Cubs, the more he cared – no small feat, but it came through in every radio broadcast.
I’ll miss hearing it.