The best baseball player to never get inducted in the Hall of Fame, Chicago Cubs’ third baseman, Ron Santo has died. It’s a sad day at Wrigley. Before he died, Santo only wanted two things. One, to gain the respect of the Hall of Fame voters.
The other, to see the Cubs win a World Series. The poor man was denied on both counts. Time after time, Ron Santo suffered the pain and heartbreak of rejection and failed to garner enough votes to punch his ticket to Cooperstown. The rejection hurt, but it wasn’t as painful as watching the Cubs choke time and time again. All he really wanted was to see the Cubs win it all. Unfortunately, that never happened either. Ron Santo was an icon. He was, without question, the #1 diehard Cubs’ fan. His love of the Cubs was unsurpassed. As a player, he was a leader. Billy Williams and Ernie Banks fed off of him. They had a team that seemed destined to go all the way, but as luck would have it, the Cubs would fall short of their goal. That seemed to be a recurring theme for Cubs’ teams over the years. As a broadcaster, Santo wore his heart on his sleeve. When the Cubs performed well, he would get excited. When the Cubs’ fell apart, Santo’s heart would bleed. Listening to him on WGN Radio, he made it sound like the end of the world. As a diehard Cubs’ fan, I felt his pain. It is very frustrating to be a Cubs’ fan. We have so much hope going in to Spring Training, but the ending is always the same. We cry, “Wait till next year!”, but the promise of a new season always ends in frustration. “Just once”, Ron Santo cried, “Just once, I want to see the Cubs win it all”. He never did.
Ron Santo seemed to be just as cursed as the Cubs’ have been. He should be in the Hall of Fame, but for some reason, he has been overlooked. Why? Any Hall of Fame voter who has not voted for Santo obviously did not do their homework. A closer look will reveal that Ron Santo’s numbers are just as good as anyone’s. He is arguably the greatest all-around third baseman of his time, rivaled only by Brooks Robinson. ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote a book called ‘The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History. You can read an excerpt at http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=5879992. Jayson Stark reveals why Ron Santo deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. It is very cool. It really makes you wonder how Santo was never enshrined into Cooperstown.
Santo played 15 seasons in his career.
He was a 9-time All-Star and won 5 Gold Gloves. He was a leader. He was a loyal Cubs’ fan. He was not only the voice of the Chicago Cubs, but the voice of diehard Cubs’ fans. The man batted between Ernie Banks and Billy Williams. He was at the heart of the batting order. He was the heart and soul of the Cubs. Ron Santo was a special player, but more importantly, he was a special person. He will be missed. The Cubs have countless diehard fans, but Ron Santo was the most loyal and passionate diehard Cubs’ fan of all. When the Cubs finally win a World Series, the Heavens will open and tears of joy shall fall down upon Chicago, because Ron Santo will finally find fulfillment and peace. If the Hall of Fame never opens its door to Santo, it will be a shame. I hope that some day both of his wishes come true. He deserves it!