“I know getting inducted into the Hall of Fame had to be something, but that flag is going to hanging there after everybody is gone.” Ron Santo on getting his number retired by the Cubs
I started following baseball as soon as I can remember. It was always on the radio. It was always on the TV. I would stay with my friend Chris from time to time and his dad would be watching the Cubs game with the TV volume all the way down and the radio volume up. He did this to get away from Harry Caray. Yes, Harry was an institution, but he was annoying as hell.
I followed his dad’s lead and would often times listen to the radio if Harry was on. I came accustomed to listening to the games on the radio. I enjoyed them. They particularly became interesting in 1990. That year, three men joined the radio booth and two of them went on to represent the cubs. The other is a small little douche who doesn’t know how to spell his name and believes that Cubs fans are the worst in all of baseball.
Ron Santo was part of that team. It was clear to me, even as a 10 year old, that this guy loved the Cubs and didn’t care what he said, as long as he got to talk baseball and support the Cubs. How awesome was that to hear as a youngster, getting involved in a game you love? To hear a grown man be as enthusiastic as you were. To hear him complain about the umps or endlessly cheer a home run. His voice is a part of my life. Even though it is silenced, I hear it every game I watch or to every game I listen.
He was a .277 career hitter with 342 home runs and 2,254 hits in an era that was dominated by the best pitchers that the game has ever seen. He was a nine time all-star and a five time gold glover. He once said, “All you need to play third base is a strong chest and a strong arm.” He did this while suffering from diabetes. Not once did he complain, he just went out there and clicked his heels.
On Sunday, July 22, he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame. One of 207 players, the top 1% of the top baseball players in history. It is utter bull shit that the cowards that voted for him waited until he was passed. Ronnie was a hall of fame man, hall of fame cubs fan and hall of fame baseball player. His numbers have not changed for the past 40 years. It is hard to be happy and angry at the same time, but that is what I am. I am hangry.
Congratulations, Ronnie. We all told you that you were a hall of famer. We retired your number. We adored your broadcasts and have left the open seat for the world’s biggest Cubs fans. The hall is correct now and I am glad that 10 year olds walking through will finally see your plaque and learn your story to inspire another generations of Cubs fans. We miss you and are so proud. Ron Santo HOF 12. That sure does read well.
Please to enjoy.