Ron Santo, who had a clear passion for the Chicago Cubs both as a player and as a radio broadcaster, passed away last night in Arizona because of complications from bladder cancer. He was 70.
Santo had been battling several health issues over the last decade, including a bout of diabetes that led to a leg amputation, as well as heart issues.
But he was a battler, and that passion for life and the Cubs spilled over in each and every WGN broadcast. He made no doubt about where he stood each and every game: he was a fan first and a broadcaster second. Last season was a rough one for Santo in terms of the Cubs’ performance: we listened to more than one game where Santo was reduced to muttering, disgusted with the team’s performance.
Santo broke in with the Cubs in the 1960 season and stayed with the team until 1974, when he was traded to crosstown rival Chicago White Sox. He’s not in the Hall of Fame, but he put up career numbers that always seemed to put him on the edge of induction: .277 average, 342 home runs and 1,331 runs batted in over 15 seasons.
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