Ron Santo, a Chicago Cubs player and broadcaster, died yesterday at the age of 70. According to Chicago radio station WGNTV.com, he had bladder cancer.
Ron Santo, who played third base, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 18. He kept his condition secret throughout most of his career as a Cubs player. No one else had ever played baseball on a day to day basis as an insulin dependent diabetic. And that was at a time when control of the diabetes was even more difficult than it is today.
Santo began playing for the Chicago Cubs in 1960, and in 1961 he set a Cubs record with 41 double plays at 3rd base. In 1966, he set the all-time league record with 391 assists. In 1967, he beat his own record with 393 assists, which remained the record for seven years. He retired from baseball in 1974.
Repeatedly, and controversially, passed up for the Baseball Hall Of Fame, when his number 10 jersey was retired at Wrigley Field in 2003, the third baseman said “”This is my Hall of Fame!””
Ron Santo became a color commentator, calling the Chicago Cubs games, on WGN, in 1990. He was well known for his unabashed enthusiasm in the broadcast booth, including groans and cheers during the game.
The Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes has raised more than $40 million since 1979, In 2002, Santo was named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s “Person of the Year”. Santo also inspired Bill Holden’s 2,100 miles from Arizona to Chicago, to raise $250,000 for diabetes research.