The Baseball Chronicle

Essays, January 2011

Ron Santo


By Todd Cosner

You can't be a baseball fan in Iowa without loving Ron Santo. Whether you can't get inside or it's too nice outside to be inside, you can turn on the radio and listen to Ron and Pat call a game. I wasn't a Cubs fan before I married my wife, Wendy, a long-suffering fan since the late 1980s, but you can't be married to a Cubs fan without it rubbing off on you. So we both spilt loyalty between the Cubbies and the Yankees. On one end there is the thrill of victory, and the other the agony of defeat.

Santo was a household staple for us. We both loved him, and he was a part of our lives almost every day. Even when the games were not, shall we say, exciting to watch, Ron and Pat gave us something enjoyable to listen to. They worked very well together. Santo was a true fan. He was almost hard to understand through his excitement when things were going well, and equally so when things weren't. The man felt genuine anguish when the Cubs failed to make a play.

Many people, myself included, feel that Ron was wrongfully overlooked for the Hall of Fame. He had the numbers as a player. As a broadcaster there should still be room in the Hall for Santo. Few broadcasters have ever lived and died with a team like Santo. People have been saying for years he bleeds Cub blue. The game has lost a great ambassador and a great man. He was great to the fans and always had a smile on his face no matter how bad he was feeling. We are going to miss his voice. I will miss the way he fell to pieces with every miscue or just plain bad play. I will miss the triumphant voice that made it impossible to know exactly what happened until he calmed down to speak plainly.

We will miss you, Ronnie.

* * *

Got a remembrance of Ron Santo? Share it below.

Photograph: Lamba Chi Alpha

About the author

Todd Cosner is a self-proclaimed dabbler who has so many interests that something is always in season for him. Which simply means that he has things to carry him over until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. He is the father of three girls and lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife of eighteen years, Wendy. He is a painter, an avid reader, a Sunday school teacher and a softball coach. He blogs at A Swing and a Miss.


Phil Bencomo, Jan 21, 2011

I never saw Ron Santo play; by the time I was born he was already long-retired. But for every year I can remember, he was behind the mic for Cubs games on WGN Radio, letting his Cubbie-blue blood on the air 162 days a year. Ron's resolve was unparalleled, and if he could suffer through so many years of losing and misfortune, on the field and in the booth, through all the devastating Hall of Fame snubs, through the diabetes that took his legs, through the cancer that took his life, and still, after all that battering, radiate hope for the Cubs and the future, then certainly, no matter how dark the day, I could keep going, too.

I'll always remember Ron, not because he was always insightful or witty on the air, because he wasn't often either. No, I'll remember his humanity, his wide-open heart, his unflinching courage, and his boundless faith in his beloved ball club.

A greater Cubs fan there never was.

Bruce Harris, Feb 9, 2011

I was a Cubs fan throughout the 1960's. The toughest year was 1969. Growing up in New York, that was no easy task. I not only watched and admired the play of Ron Santo, but I kept a daily scrapbook with his statistics. This will tell you something about the man, Ron Santo. My mother sent him a letter back in 1969, telling him how much her son admired him. Well, at the end of the season, I received a wonderful personal letter from Ron on Ron Santo Pizzeria stationery, promising me that "my Cubs" will be in the thick of the pennant race in 1970. He also sent along an autographed 8 x 10 photo, inscribed, "To Bruce, Best Wishes to a Great Cubs fan, your pal, Ron Santo." What more can I say? He was a competitor and most importantly, a gentleman. He was a great baseball player and a Cub through and through. He belongs in Cooperstown. He will be missed.

Leave a comment

Your comment (use Markdown for formatting):

Comments must be approved before they appear here. All I ask is, be respectful and stay on topic.

← Previous story Next story →



Podcast home | Subscribe in iTunes


Or browse the whole thing, on a single page.


The Baseball Chronicle is an online magazine that celebrates the narrative. We publish personal stories, essays, journalism and more—great stories, of all varieties, about our favorite game.

Tell your story today.