I admit to being a band-wagon blogger. But it’s a, and the, cool thing to do these days, and this is a topic I can’t ignore.
As a 5-year-old Cub fan, I loved Banks, Hundley, Kessinger, Beckert, and Hickman. I knew Ron Santo played third base, but I didn’t pay as close attention to him as I did the other guys. So I didn’t really get the full appreciation of him as a player. And I was never able to appreciate his commentating style. But know this about Ron Santo:
Diabetes walked away from Ron Santo wimpering. Diabetes threw everything it had at that man, and he still kicked its butt. It is that, along with his efforts to raise awareness and money for JDRF, for which I will always admire him. We all should.
Among my collection of Cubs memorabilia are autographed baseballs by Ernie Banks and Ron Santo. They are 2 totally different categories for me. The Banks ball was given to me for Christmas by my brother. The Santo ball I tossed to Ron up in the booth at Miller Park. He signed it and tossed it back down to me. The same way that I wish I could hand a baseball to about 672 other current and former Cubs, that ball will always mean more to me. I love my Ernie Banks autograph, but he sat at a table somewhere and signed 100 of them; Ron signed MY ball FOR ME. That he took the time to do it, that he made eye contact with me and acknowledged my interest, still makes me smile.
Thank you, Ron. Baseball will truly miss you.