This week marks 10 years since the Chicago Cubs lost an icon in Ron Santo.
It was right around midnight on December 2, 2010 when Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo passed away in Scottsdale, Arizona due to complications of bladder cancer and a longtime battle with diabetes. Santo was 70 years old. The fanbase awoke on that Friday morning to the very sad news, a moment that is hard to believe was now a decade ago.
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When Santo passed, he had still not been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, a moment he himself and millions of Cubs fans had waited to see for decades. Like a number of Cubs teams pre-2016, he got close to that goal, but no cigar. He finally got into Cooperstown in 2012, two years after he passed.
During his career, Santo slashed .277/.362/.464 with 342 home runs, 1,331 RBI, .826 OPS, 126 wRC+ and 70.9 fWAR in 2,243 games. He was a nine-time All Star and five-time Gold Glove winner.
Santo was not only famous for his 15 years on an MLB ballfield, but also his work on WGN radio doing color commentary for the club from 1990-2010. His battle with diabetes, resulting in leg amputations, inspired people to help fight the disease as he and his family worked with organizations such as JDRF and hosted other charity events. The Ron Santo Walk is always a big contributor in raising money for diabetes research.
While he has been gone a decade, his memory is still very much alive among Cubs fans.
As long as the Chicago Cubs exist, fans will know who Ron Santo was, even after all who had watched him play have passed on. His #10 flies on the Wrigley Field foul pole and his statue sits at the corner of Addison and Sheffield. There is never a shortage of fans wearing Santo jerseys to Cubs games/events.
A lot has happened since Santo’s passing. He died right after the 2010 season, which was yet another losing one. Since then:
- Theo Epstein was hired after the 2011 season
- Santo was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, class of 2012, with his family representing him at the ceremony in Cooperstown.
- Wrigley Field went under extensive renovations including adding video boards, more modern concourses, new lower bowl seating, luxury clubs and hotels/mini malls across the street
- Chicago clinched a postseason series at Wrigley Field for the first time ever in 2015
- Team won first pennant since 1945 in 2016
- Cubs won first World Series since 1908 in 2016
- Made four-straight postseason appearances for the first time ever, including three-straight NLCS berths.
It really would have been special if Ron Santo was sitting next Pat Hughes in the Progressive Field press box the night of November 2, 2016. But he was watching from up above alongside his teammate Ernie Banks, and had the best view of anyone. Fans still thought bout Santo that night and how he would have reacted if he were still around when that final out was made.