Santo Finally Makes It

Ron Santo Takes a Whack

Ron Santo and Billy Williams both played for the 1960 Houston Buffs before going on to careers as teammates with the Chicago Cubs as their teams’ defenders of the left field line at third base and left field. Now the guys are together again – in the Baseball Hall of Fame. All I wish to say is that I’m glad it finally happened and, like many others of you, I only wish it could have happened earlier than December 3, 2010, the date that the wonderful Ron Santo left this planet. Posthumous awards always ring the bell  a little too loudly on the empty side, as in “better now than never, but earlier would have been better, when Ron Santo was still here among the living to share and enjoy it with family and friends.”

Ron Santo had a wonderful power stroke on offense and the kind of rocket arm on defense that defines the rare greats of third base history. Only fourteen others have received the call to the Hall as “hot corner” specialists prior to Santo, and three of those men played exclusively in the Negro Leagues, where statistical data was often poorly kept and not well documented – and  the game itself was played under the frequently far more adverse conditions of many ragged fields and unevenly officiated games. Santo has deserved his place in this rarefied company forever and I am grateful that the Veterans Committee finally made it happen on December 5, 2011.

Over the course of his fifteen season MLB career (1960-1974), Ron Santo batted .277 with 342 home runs, and 1,331 runs batted in. He played in nine all star games and won five gold gloves over the course of his career. Ron Santo had to battle the ravages of diabetes in the latter years of his life, but he hung in there, even under the loss of both legs to the disease, doing good, positive color reporting as an analyst on the Cubs’ radio game broadcasting team.

Love live the soul and spirit of Ron Santo. It bears upon its back the larger hope for an eventual Chicago Cubs redemption – and that’s no light load for any soul to carry.

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6 Responses to “Santo Finally Makes It”

  1. Bill Gilbert Says:

    I was happy to see Ron Santo finally make the Hall but was disappointed that Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso, two of my childhood favorites, fell short.

    Bill Gilbert

  2. D. Stewart Says:

    If Santo is in how can Hodges and Kenny Boyer not be in? I agree Santo was a great person but so was Hodges and I assume Boyer as well.

  3. Bill McCurdy Says:

    E-Mail Message from friend and column reader Mike McCully: “…I didn’t realize Ron Santo and Billy Williams played for the Buffs! As I grew up in Chicago and after I moved away I watched Ron (and Billy, and Ernie Banks, etc., etc.) play for the Cubs, and you are absolutely right — he should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago. Cub fans could be brutal when he was in a slump (not as brutal as other fans, though), but they loved him when he wasn’t, and most of the time he wasn’t. I remember one game of many in which he batted cleanup, after Billy Williams. He hit a grand slam, and after he scored, some of the left-field bleacher bums used empty cups to form the words “Hey Hey Ron” in the chain link fence there. A tribute to Ron as well as echoes of Jack Brickhouse.”.

  4. Shirley Virdon Says:

    It is always sad that men like Ron Santo don’t get to enjoy being inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame while they are still living. It is also sad that some of the ones who are inducted so soon when they become eligible don’t always seem as appreciative as I think they might be if they had to wait longer to be inducted. It has always been such a huge Honor for the older ones! Ron was certainly deserving and so are Gil hodges and Ken Boyer.

  5. David Munger Says:

    I was LUCKY enough to see Santo and Williams play
    during the ’60 Buff season…….SOOOOOO OVERDUE.

  6. David Munger Says:

    It reminds me of what my Dad once said when he was
    never inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame, how
    can your stats get any better after you DIE. I know you
    are smiling “PIZZA MAN”.

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