People might not remember the old Ron Santo.
In his playing days, Ron was regularly salty with the media and Cubs management. He was an open dissenter of Leo Durocher for years. He even blindsided a young centerfielder named Don Young by stating he cost the Cubs a game in the 1969 pennant race.
When the Cubs let him go, Santo was far from apologetic.
Once Santo joined the Cubs radio booth in 1990, it was all forgotten.
Ron became an ambassador for Cubs nation, and a beloved figure in the eyes of millions.
Unfortunately, that broadcaster is only a part of what should be remembered today.
You can't blame the media for mainly honoring the broadcaster... It's all that people under 45 years of age remember of the former third basemen.
For those older, like my father, Ronny was a hero. He was the best third basemen in the National League over a 10 year span (1963-1972). Plus, the argument could be made that he was the best third basemen in all of baseball over those 10 years. If it weren't for Brooks Robinson's electric fielding during the 1970 World Series, Santo may have owned that title in the eyes of the national media.
But many of Santo's faults as a player weren't of his doing. It wasn't Ronny's fault
that they lost 103 games in 1966. It wasn't Ronny's fault that his Cubs teams never made the postseason. It wasn't his fault that the Cubs traded Lou Brock or that Ken Hubbs got in that fateful plane ride. It wasn't his fault that Durocher rarely used his bench to rest players
He was a product of his organization; wishing for the best, but mainly getting the worst.
The above statement might just be the best way to summarize Santo's life.
Santo wanted a normal life, but had to deal with diabetes. Santo wanted the Cubs organization to provide him with the final years of his career, but disagreements led to his trade to the White Sox. Santo wanted the Cubs to win the World Series, but was regularly defeated.
Most of all, Ronny wanted the Hall of Fame...and got none of it.
He was left with diabetes, no legs, and no title.
Just an old man loving the Cubs against the wind of time.
Today, Ronny finally has the wind at his back. He's in the best Hall of Fame in the world. And he finally got his title.
Requiem in pace.