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Ron Santo

Died when: 70 years 280 days
Star Sign: Pisces

 

Ron Santo Ronald Edward Santo (February 25, 1940 – December 3, 2010) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) third baseman who played for the Chicago Cubs from 1960 through 1973 and the Chicago White Sox in 1974. In 1990, Santo became a member of the Cubs broadcasting team providing commentary for Cubs games on WGN radio and remained at that position until his death in 2010. In 1999, he was selected to the Cubs All-Century Team. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. Santo was raised in Southeast Seattle, attending Franklin High School (Seattle), and played newly organized youth baseball in the Babe Ruth League. He grew up near Sicks Stadium, home of the Pacific Coast League’s Seattle Rainiers, and had summer jobs there as a batboy, groundskeeper and clubhouse attendant, while playing three sports in high school. At age 14 he made the Seattle, Washington All Star Babe Ruth team which advanced to the 1954 Babe Ruth World Series. In a game at then Washington DC Stadium, Dave Tacher (coach) inserted Santo at first base to replace his 15 year old who broke his thumb. In that game Santo hit a grand slam home run over the 354 foot mark in left center field and the Washington All Stars defeated Tennessee. Santo was an All-Star for nine seasons during his 15-year career. He led the National League (NL) in triples one time, in walks four times, and in on-base percentage two times. He batted .300 or more and hit 30 or more home runs four times each, and is the only third baseman in MLB history to post eight consecutive seasons with over 90 runs batted in (RBI) (1963–70). Santo is second to Mathews in slugging average (.464), and is the third ranking third baseman in walks (1,108), in RBI (1,331), and total bases (3,779). He also was a Gold Glove Award winner for five consecutive seasons. He led the NL in total chances eight times, in games, putouts and assists seven times each, and in double plays six times. From 1966 to 1974, he held the NL record for assists in a single season. He also set NL records for career assists (4,532), total chances (6,777) and double plays (389) at third base, all of which were eventually broken between 1986 and 1988 by Mike Schmidt. His NL total of 2,102 games at third base is 52 short of Mathews' league record, and he ranks sixth in putouts (1,930) and ninth in fielding percentage (.954). Santo enjoyed his success despite battling diabetes since he was a teenager, a condition which was carefully and generally concealed publicly until 1971; it eventually necessitated the amputation of the lower half of both his legs. Since 1979, Santo endorsed the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's annual Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes in Chicago. He helped raise over $65 million for the foundation. In 2002, he was named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's "Person of the Year".
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