Friday, December 3, 2010

Mourning with the Enemy

Ok, let it be known, I am a Cubs fan and today is truely a sad day. Would-be, SHOULD-BE Hall of Famer Ron Santo passed away Thursday night after a short battle with bladder cancer.

Indulge me, if you will, as it is a travesty that this man is not in the Cooperstown and, now, per his wishes, should not be (he made it known that did not want to be inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously). He played from 1960 to 1973 alongside fellow All-Stars Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams and held his own earning five Gold Gloves to go along with his 342 home runs and 1,331 RBI. He did all of that despite being diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 18.

With debate raging over whether Mark McGwire or Rafael Palmiero should be allowed in the Hall after admitted/suspected steriod use, Santo put up his numbers while battling a disease that ravaged his body even while he played stellar baseball. Don't get me wrong, I don't think he should be inducted simply because he played baseball with diabetes, his numbers alone speak to his candidacy.

In 1990, Ron Santo became the radio voice for the Cubs and, despite losing both legs to diabetes among other diabetes-related illnesses, he brought the same enthusiasm and homerism every day he was in the booth. He endeared himself to Cubs fans and the baseball community as a true fan who lived the highs and lows of each season live on the radio and became the epitome of the Cub Fan.

In 2004, Ron's Son Jeff put together a documentary, This Old Cub. The trailer below, gives you a view of this man. It's a great movie; not just for Cub fans but for baseball fans.

Many will remember his Oh NOOOOOOOOO's or his jubilant cheers as games progressed which he never apologized for as he was a true fan and cared little for the even-keeled nature that most reporters and radio personalties now maintain. He never got to see himself inducted into the Hall of Fame which is a travesty and he never got to see the Cubs win a World Series joining the ranks of MANY fans the world over but he'll never be forgotten by Cubs fans.

Rest In Peace, Number 10, the game just won't be the same.


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