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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ron Santo RIP

It was bad enough yesterday that Dr. Dean Edell retired from his radio show, one of the last voices of reason on the Am dial, but then my all time favorite baseball player Ron Santo died yesterday.  Santo is not a bluesman, but if anyone ever lived the life of the blues and could relate to the music it was Ron Santo.  A young man blessed with athletic ability cursed with Diabetes after he was drafted to play for the Chicago Cubs.  He secretly played with the chronic illness for several years, until the early 70s when he told the world.  This guy was one of the greatest 3rd basemen of his era. A multiple gold glove winner, perennial all star, captain of a team that featured future hall of famers, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Ferguson Jenkins.  He did all of that and had Type One Diabetes.  However, that is not the end of the story.  Years later he was considered a shoo in for the Hall of fame, and yet every year he was left out.  It was agonizing waiting each year for the baseball hall of fame to do the right thing, and year after year it was disappointment after disappointment. then to make matters even worse his diabetes took away both his legs.  He suffered from heart problems, and then bladder cancer, which I thought he had beaten a few years ago, but unfortunately is what finally claimed his life. Ron Santo was the eternal optimist, and to be a true Cubs fan you have to be.  For me the Cubs were the team we watched down on Grampa's farm on his old b&w TV.  Me, dad, uncle Melvin and Grampa would watch the Cubs who played great in the spring, and fall apart in the dog days of summer. Santo, Kessinger, Beckert, Banks, and Williams were my boyhood heroes.  Years later Santo became my favorite because I loved to listen to him doing play by play on the radio.  However, it was in 1999 when I became a Diabetic that Santo became not only a hero, but some one to look up too, and realize that Diabetes is not the end of life, but a new beginning.  In many ways it made me a better person by loosing weight, watching what I eat, and trying not to be a coach potato.  I am going to miss Ron especially this spring when the Cubs return, because unfortunately Ronnie won't be there in the booth to cheer them on, and it won't be the same without him.  God bless you Ron.

Here is some blues from the late great Steve Goodman:  A Dying Cubs Fans Last Request

Here is Steve Goodman's Go Cubs Go with Ronnie making an appearance at the 1:10 mark

Finally a nice video that sums up Ron's life and why he is my hero.

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