Chicago Cubs: He lived the highs and the lows equally
While in the booth, he shared the same experience we did while listening. He joined us on the roller coaster that is Cubs fandom. We’ve been treated to our fair share of “oh sh*ts” when the Cubs were in danger of relinquishing their lead, to which Pat would correct him after a brief pause, retorting, “Ronnie… I think you mean, “oh shoot.” It was like he was right there, watching the game beside us, sharing the same emotion and affinity with every play.
An example of this comes during the 1998 pennant race. The Cubs had a two-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. However, Milwaukee was threating the W, having the bases loaded. A routine fly ball was hit to left fielder Brant Brown. Brown would commit an error, dropping the ball, allowing three unearned runs to score in an odd walk-off fashion. The Cubs would lose the ballgame.
Listeners of WGN Radio, let out a simultaneous whimper that was similar to Santo’s famous on-air groan which was reminiscent in channeling Brad Pitt during the final scene of Se7en.
Pat Hughes: “Brant Brown drops the ball!”
Ron Santo: “OHHHH NOOOOOO!!! NOOOO!!!”
After the game, Hughes describes going down into the clubhouse after the game and Santo being with then Cubs manager, Jim Riggleman. He saw something that he’s never seen before. He saw the manager of a big league ball club trying to cheer up the broadcaster after the game.
THAT was Ron Santo.
He was the most colorful color guy in the booth but he was also the most colorful player on the field, as well.