I’d often wince at the thought of Ron Santo leaving us in the middle of a Cubs Mets game at New York, in one of the late innings when Carlos Marmol or [fill-in-the-blank] inevitably loads the basis before retiring the side and saving the game.
Obviously this would not be an ideal situation and certainly was not what I hoped for. But it came as quite a disappointment when I heard, early this morning, that Santo passed from complications from a recurrence of bladder cancer at age 70.
I really thought he’d be around to see the Cubs finally win it all. Of course I imagine a Cubs championship as a likelihood every spring, only to have my heartbroken by August and inevitably lose interest in baseball altogether by the time the Wrigley Field ivy starts turning colors. But there were definitely a few seasons over the past decade in which I had a pretty-to-really good feeling that it was going to happen.
Santo raised more than $50 million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund through his annual Walk for the Cure and other charitable activities. Every time a Cubs player was issued a base on balls, Santo took the opportunity to advocate for JDRF, thanks to a partnership in which Walgreens donated $100 to JDRF for every Cubs walk.
Amazing night at — of all places — Miller Park. Much will be said about this night, and personally, I’m elated at the moment. But in the interest of getting out of the house, I’m going to post the audio highlights c/o WGN Radio, Pat Hughes, and Ron Santo. Yes, The Chicago Cubs, on the back of Carlos Zambrano — who nearly no-hit the Astros in the past — pitched his first career no hitter, the first no hitter by a Cubs since Milt Pappas in 1972.
At least in my case it does. Check out these couple audio highlights from Pat Hughes and Ron Santo on WGN-AM served to me at the office via MLB.tv audio. On this particular game, the Cubs, who happen to have the best record in the major leagues, beat the Atlanta Braves in extra innings for a series sweep and their 11th straight win at Wrigley. A new pitcher came in to face the last batter, Reed Johnson and HIT HIM with the first pitch. A walk-off HBP (see photo). Amazing. Listen to these fans. Next year is here, baby.
Words cannot explain the incredible joy and excitement I feel right now. I’ve been following the Cubs as close as ever this year, despite my current residence on the west coast and after 160 games, it IS HAPPENING! The Cubs are going to the playoffs and are the first National League team to clinch their division. Zambrano and Soriano were the heroes today — the two guys who got the fattest cash deals and boy do they deserve it. I don’t have cable, much less satellite but I am listening to the WGN radio stream and on a mad hunt for an Old Style. I am also loving the comment thread at Bleed Cubbie Blue as well as the Cub-cam at Clark and Addison showing the fans spilling out into the streets of Wrigleyville (the game was away in Cincinnati, btw). Soon to leave the house for a Friday night, but this is JUST the beginning of a great run. GO CUBS!