Ron Santo spent his entire professional career playing in Chicago, Illinois. The third baseman spent most of his MLB career playing for the Cubs and spent one season with the White Sox.
The Hall of Famer had a lot of success throughout his career. He was named to multiple All-Star teams and won numerous Gold Glove awards. When he died in 2010, the game a baseball lost one of the greats.
Ron Santo’s path to the MLB
Santo was a native of Seattle, Washington. He grew up playing baseball at a young age and quickly developed a passion for the game. In 1959, he was signed as a free agent by the Chicago Cubs. The next year he made his MLB debut. Santo did not waste any time having success when he got to the league. In his first season, he batted .251 with nine home runs playing in 95 games. Santo continued to improve early on in his career.
During his fourth season, he became an All-Star for the first time in his career. He finished the 1963 season with a .297 batting average with 25 home runs and 99 RBIs. From the 1963 to 1966 season, Santo made four consecutive All-Star teams. He also won five consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1964 to 1968. Santo could get the job done at the plate and on the field. He quickly became a fan favorite in Chicago.
Santo spent 14 seasons playing with the Cubs, and during that time, he made nine All-Star teams and won five Gold Glove awards. In 1963 he broke the modern NL record with 374 assists at third base. From 1963 to 1968, his assist totals were the six highest by an NL third baseman between 1905 and 1973. Santo was a defensive specialist and played the hot corner very well. He finished his career with the Cubs batting .279 with 337 home runs and 1,290 RBIs. Santos stayed in Chicago for his final year playing for the White Sox. In his last MLB season, he batted .221 and had 83 hits.
For his career, he batted .277 with 2,254 hits, 342 home runs, and 1,331 RBIs. Those numbers allowed him to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. The Cubs retired his No. 10 jersey as well.
Ron Santo’s career after playing in the MLB
Santo continued to remain around the game of baseball after he retired. In 1990 he joined the Cubs’ broadcast as the WGN radio color commentator. Just like on the field, people enjoyed Santos while he served as the commentator for the baseball games.
Santo enjoyed what he was doing and was glad to still be around his favorite sport. During his broadcast career, he worked alongside numerous people in the booth. Though Santo enjoyed a lot of success during his playing career and as a broadcaster, there was something that he struggled with at times, which was diabetes.
During his early years of playing professionally, he hid the fact that he had type 1 diabetes because he thought that if people knew, he would be forced to retire early. He was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 18, and he had to get his legs amputated below the knee in 2001 and 2002.
Ron Santo’s tragic passing was a big blow to the baseball world
On December 3, 2010, Santo died in a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona. He died from complications of bladder cancer and diabetes. Santo was 70 years old when he passed away. During his funeral, some of his former teammates carried his casket. Santo meant a lot to the game of baseball, and his legacy will always be remembered, especially in the city of Chicago.
On August 10, 2011, the Cubs presented a statue of Santo at Wrigley Field. For an organization to make a statue of a player means a lot. Not too many players can say they have a statue outside of an arena or a ballpark. Santo played his heart out for the city of Chicago, and he made sure to touch as many people as he could through the game of baseball.