The Chicago Cubs, March Madness and the Final Four
Chicago Cubs: Wrigley Region Championship
- 1 seed Ron Santo vs. 2 seed Billy Williams
To make it to the Final Four portion of the tournament, you pretty much need to be a Hall of Famer. You also are almost certainly were or are still a beloved player. Both prerequisites are undoubtedly accurate for the last two men standing in the Wrigley Region, Williams and Santo.
While neither Santo nor Williams helped their team to a pennant in the 1960s or 70s, they are (along with Ernie Banks and Fergie Jenkins) the stars of an entire generation of Cubs fans. They epitomized the faithful fans who came to see them and rarely disappointed.
Williams was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1961, a six-time All-Star, won a batting title in 1972, and was on the MVP ballot a whopping eight times. He finished his career with a .290/.361/.492 career slash line, 426 home runs, 1475 RBI, and 2711 hits.
Santo was a nine-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove winner, and garnered MVP votes for seven straight years from 1963-1969. He put up a career slash line of .277/.362/.464 and played the best third base of anyone in his generation not named Brooks Robinson. Fun stat as well- he is the only third baseman in MLB history to drive in 90 runs in eight consecutive seasons (1963-1970).
While it was a next-to-impossible task to decide a winner between the two, Santo’s defensive prowess and continued work with the Cubs as a broadcaster until his death in 2010 puts him over the top as the Wrigley Region victor.