12/03/2010 9:22 AM ET
Cubs Legend Ron Santo Passes Away at Age of 70
Cubs legend Ron Santo passed away overnight at the age of 70 following a courageous battle with bladder cancer.
"My siblings and I first knew Ron Santo as fans, listening to him in the broadcast booth," said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. "We knew him for his passion, his loyalty, his great personal courage and his tremendous sense of humor. It was our great honor to get to know him personally in our first year as owners.
"Ronnie will forever be the heart and soul of Cubs fans. Our thoughts and prayers today are with his wife Vicki and their family and we share with fans across the globe in mourning the loss of our team's number one fan and one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game.
"As a nine-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove winner, Ronnie was one of the best Cubs ever and a Hall of Famer in our book.
"Since he retired he was a powerful spokesperson for Juvenile Diabetes Research. For the last 21 years, his love for baseball and passion for the Cubs was felt in every one of his broadcasts.
"In the days and seasons ahead, we will honor Ron and celebrate all he has meant to our team and our fans. Ron's number 10 will always be close to our hearts and Ron will forever be a member of the Cubs family."
A nine-time National League All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner, Santo hit .277 with 365 doubles, 67 triples, 342 home runs, 1,331 RBI and 1,138 runs in 2,243 games covering 15 major league seasons with the Cubs (1960-73) and White Sox (1974).
Born February 25, 1940 in Seattle, Wash., Santo ranked among the elite during his 15-season big league career. Between 1960-74, only four players had 2,000 hits, 300 home runs and 1,300 RBI: Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Billy Williams and Santo. Also, only four players had 2,000 hits and 1,000 walks in that span: Hank Aaron, Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson and Santo. Santo's 342 home runs were the most by any third baseman in his 15-season career, easily outpacing his next closest competitor in Brooks Robinson (248 home runs in that span).
In his 15-year career, Santo finished in the league top-10 in batting average three times, slugging percentage five times, on-base percentage seven times, base on balls nine times, games played eight times, home runs seven times, RBI eight times, runs scored three times and total bases five times.
He holds or shares many defensive records for third basemen, including most consecutive National League games at third base (364), most years leading the N.L. in putouts (seven), most years leading the N.L. in assists (seven straight), most years leading either league in total chances (nine) and most years leading either league in double plays (six).
Santo was a member of the Chicago Cubs radio team as an analyst since 1990 and was a pioneer in raising funds for juvenile diabetes research. For 32 years he hosted the Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes, which raised more than $40 million to support diabetes research, progress and continued hope for a cure.