The first piece of news I heard this morning after waking up was about the death of Ron Santo, Cubs legendary 3rd baseman and broadcaster. Honestly, I didn't believe it. But then I flipped on WGN Morning News and learned the sad news was fact.
Knowing he probably hadn't heard, I grabbed my phone and called my dad. A lifelong Cubs and Ron Santo fan, I think my dad felt like a family member had just died. That's how I felt.
Ron Santo (photogallery) was an inspiration, not only in how he played, but in how he lived. His diabetes never slowed him down and we never heard him complain about it. Watching how he went through his later years without his legs always reminded me of my Gardner Grandfather, who although he didn't have diabetes, suffered from a blood disorder that resulted in him having both of his legs amputated later in life. Like Santo, Grandpa never complained (unlike Santo, Grandpa was only a White Sox fan). He just kept going, living his life with vigor and integrity.
It's a shame that Ron Santo was never elected into the Hall of Fame, but he held his head high and showed incredible class each time he was turned away. Hopefully now he'll get the respect and recognition he deserves. His stats say he belongs there and his sportsmanship is what all players and aspiring plays should emulate.
RIP Ron Santo. Listening to the Cubs will never be the same.
A couple of years ago, I gave my dad This Old Cub for Christmas. It's a wonderful documentary that all Cubs fans should watch over and over again.