CHISportsNation

Chicago Cubs beloved third baseman and long-time radio broadcaster, Ron Santo, was born on this day in 1940 in Seattle, Washington.  Santo signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1959 and was primarily a catcher but was moved to third base early-on in his minor league career.

Santo debuted for the Cubs on June 26, 1960 and he immediately made an impact.  That day, he played in both games of a double-header against the Pittsburgh Pirates and drove in 5 runs off two hits in the first game and one hit in the second.  Santo never looked back.  Over his 15-year career he would appear in 9 All-Star Games and win 5 Gold Glove Awards.  In 2012, two years after his death, he was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  But, there is more to the story of Ronald Edward Santo.

At the age of 18 Ron Santo was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.  After the diagnosis Santo feared that he would be forced to give up his career so, he decided to keep his condition private.  Santo carefully concealed his disease for many years.  During the “Ron Santo Day” festivities at Wrigley Field, he finally decided to share his diagnosis with the world.  The disease would eventually lead to the amputation of the lower half of both his legs; the right in 2001 and the left in 2002.

Santo had a long-standing relationship with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  He helped to establish the annual Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes in Chicago. He helped raise over $65 million for the foundation, and after his second amputation in 2002, he was named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s “Person of the Year”.

Santo was an amazing ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, but Cubs fans today remember Ron Santo as a radio broadcaster.  Beginning in the 1990 season, Santo worked alongside his partner Pat Hughes as the play-by-play announcer for his beloved Cubbies.

What Santo lacked in professional training, he made up for in enthusiasm.  He was lovingly referred to as the Cubs “biggest fan”.  Santo was often heard openly cheering for the Cubbies when something good happened on the field.  And, during the lean years, he could just as often be found groaning his disapproval at errors made or a call going against his team.  Ron Santo personified what it felt like to be a Cubs fan.  Through the good times and the bad Ron gave voice to what Cubs fans were experiencing.

Today, on his birthday, let’s take a minute to give a big shout-out to the guy who taught us to be a true Cubs fan.  Thanks Ron.

 

Stats from baseball-reference.com

“Photo” from AP photos/yahoosports.com

One Comment

  1. John Karter

    February 26, 2018 at 1:00 PM

    Thanks Ron! And thank you Ginger.. great article.

Check Also

Kyle Hendricks Dominates Against the Padres

On Monday, May 9th, Kyle Hendricks dominated one of the top teams in baseball. At that mom…