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Sunday Special: Great Ron Santo Stories

A real ballplayer entered the MLB Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown yesterday, but it was 18 months too late for every Chicagoan—not to mention every fan of baseball—who would’ve hung on every syllable from the man’s induction speech. We loved Ron Santo. Here are some great stories about the late-great third baseman (If we missed any, please post a comment!)

1961: ‘Ron Santo Putting Sparkle Back in
the Cubs’ Line-up’ (The Milwaukee Journal)

“Chicago, Ill.—AP—The Chicago Cubs don’t have to run an IBM card to know that the 21 year old Ron Santo may be their best third baseman since the days of Stan Hack in the 1940’s. Santo’s fan clubs look even bigger at present than Ernie Banks’….READ FULL ARTICLE

1968: Third Base Not Position, It’s Exile, And Santo’s
Best ‘Outcast’ Of All (St. Petersburg Times)

“To give you an idea of where third base fits in the baseball scheme of things, only a handful of close students of the game can tell you who the third baseman was in the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance infield. It’s not a position, it’s an exile. Hitler may be alive and playing third base. Judge Crater didn’t disappear, he became a third baseman….READ FULL ARTICLE

1969: Santo’s Snickers commercial

1973: Santo Says No to Trade With
Angels (The Milwaukee Journal)

“Houston, Tex.—Veteran Chicago Cub third baseman Ron Santo exercised his right under baseball’s new rule and decided not to accept a trade Tuesday which would have sent him to the California Angels for pitcher Rudy May and first baseman Bob Oliver….READ FULL ARTICLE

1973: Chicago Cubs Trade Santo
To White Sox
(The News & Courier)

“CHICAGO (AP)—Ron Santo got his wish to continue to play baseball in Chicago and White Sox Manager Chuck Tanner called it ‘an early Christmas present.’ In what was believed to be the first direct deal between the two Chicago baseball clubs…READ FULL ARTICLE

1974: Ron Santo, Unhappy With Chisox,
Quits Baseball
(Schenectady Gazette)

“CHICAGO (AP)—Veteran third baseman Ron Santo, who last year demanded the Chicago Cubs trade him to the Chicago White Sox, Thursday quit the Sox ‘after my most frustrating season.’ …Santo gave as the primary reason his increased duties as newly appointed vice president in charge of sales for a Chicago oil firm, but admitted his confidence was shaken by his secondary role with the Sox this year after starring for the Cubs over a 14-seasn span….READ FULL ARTICLE

1986: Royko on Santo’s famous
punch (Chicago Tribune)

“…something similar happened to Ron Santo, then a Cubs player. He had finished his day’s work and was walking out of the park with his son. A husky young man stopped Santo and began a detailed recitation of Santo’s failings as an athlete and as a human being. Santo asked him to please go away. The man refused. Pop went his nose….READ FULL ARTICLE

1994: Harry Caray & Ron Santo in the booth

1997: Royko says Santo will replace Nellie Fox as
perpetually snubbed HOF hopeful (Chicago Tribune)

“…So who will be next as the topic of annual indignation? I figure it will be Ron Santo, and he will be a fine choice since he is a relatively young man and should have many good years of being snubbed ahead of him. What a lucky guy….READ FULL ARTICLE

2002: Robert Kurson on Santo’s HOF bid (chicagomag.com)

“…It is quite possible that Ron Santo is the greatest eligible major league baseball player not in the Hall of Fame. (Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose, inarguable Hall of Famers, are not eligible for induction.) In 15 major league seasons (14 with the Cubs, one with the White Sox), Santo hit 342 home runs, drove in 1,331 runs, and won five consecutive Gold Gloves. He posted a lifetime .277 batting average and made the National League All-Star team nine times. All the while, he suffered from type 1 diabetes…” READ FULL ARTICLE

2007: Ron on the diabetes that stole his legs (dLife.com)

December 2010: Ron’s son Jeff talks to
Barry Rozner about his dad’s death (dailyherald.com)

“All the stories said it was Thursday night. All the obits have it as Dec. 2. And all the year-end tributes will repeat it as such. But Ron Santo died on Friday morning, Dec. 3, 2010. So what’s it matter now, right? “It matters a lot,” said Ron’s son Jeff. “It matters to me. It matters to my family.” But what’s a few hours difference, when Ron lived 70-plus years? “I’ll tell you why,” Jeff insisted. “I’ll tell you why it matters….” READ FULL ARTICLE

July 22, 2012: Cubs honor HOFer
Santo with heel click (ESPN Chicago)

“…The position players left the dugout in unison for the bottom of the first inning and they clicked their heels as they crossed the third-base foul line. Santo was known for celebrating on the field by clicking his heels….READ FULL ARTICLE

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STORY ART: Main image made in-house with photo courtesy Ron Cogswell/cc.

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