Friday, December 3, 2010

'This Old Cub' Ron Santo dies at 70

With Ron Santo, a man with such optimistic conviction, one would have thought there would be justice of some kind before he died. While the Hall of Fame dream has been dying a long, agonizing death for Santo and all those rooting for his induction, I feel that even beyond this piece of recognition that Santo was owed more before his time was up on this earth. A Cubs World Series obviously would have been the ultimate gift for him to receive. Many have come before him, though and have never seen the Chicago National League Ball Club even reach a World Series, much less win one, but in some strange way I had really thought that he would be alive when it finally happens.

I’ll never forget the play calls. Whether calls of ignorance, forgetfulness or shear bliss, no one could bring out the emotions of fellow die hard Cubs fans like Ron Santo could. Sure, to the casual baseball fan or listener on the radio, he was not the best color coordinator in the business. In fact, he may have been the worst. But to the those whose emotions imitated Santo’s, the audience that truly cared, there is no one those fans would have rather listen to on the color commentary than Ron.

Santo was loved, and will forever be loved by Cubs fans and baseball fans as long as this great game continues to be played. When the Cubs retired his number 10 in 2003, he said to the fans, “This is my hall of fame.” While it’s likely that he did not mean that entirely, the #10 will fly above Wrigley Field for as long as it stands and Ron Santo will always be remembered. As for the Hall of Fame, there is still a chance he can be inducted in 2012. What a shame it will be if he is finally inducted and is not there to accept the award. For that reason I almost hope he is not inducted, but if there is any justice left for this man, he deserves this final recognition. A 9-time All Star selection with 5 straight Gold Gloves from 1964 to 1968, a .277 career batting average and 342 home runs at the hot corner, his resume stand up to many at the position who have already been inducted.

I will miss you Ron, it will never be the same listening to a Cubs game without you.

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