Tuesday, June 02, 2009

#110 Ron Santo

#110 Ron Santo
Hey, whaddaya know? Two posts ago, I mentioned Ron Santo, and here he is! This is a beauty of a card, with the stadium opening up behind him (I wish I knew which one it was), and of course the great Cub-head patch on the sleeve. That's all I've got; sometimes you just want to sit back and admire a nice-looking card on its merit.

Fun facts about Ron Santo:

-Hailing from Seattle, Ron signed with the Cubs at age nineteen in 1959.

-Jumped straight to AA, hitting .327 at San Antonio. He would debut with Chicago the following year.

-Hit at least 17 home runs each year for 13 straight seasons (peaking with 33 in 1965), and became the second player ever to hit 300 HR as a third baseman (Eddie Mathews being the first). Also drove in between 94 and 123 runs each year, 1963-1970, making him the only third baseman to ever do so. Led the league in walks four times as well.

-Was a nine-time All-Star in fourteen full seasons.

-Set a team record with a 28-game hit streak in 1966. Missed seven games in the midst of the streak with a broken cheekbone suffered when hit by a Jack Fisher pitch, and returned with a primitive version of the ear-flap helmets that would later become mandatory.

-One of the most skilled third basemen of his or any era, he won five straight Gold Gloves (1964-1968) and broke several National League records (double plays, assists, total chances); his marks were later broken by Mike Schmidt.

-Traded to the White Sox in 1974 after becoming the first "10 and 5" (10 years in the league, 5 with the same team) player to veto a trade (he would have gone to the Angels). He had a miserable season, batting .221 with 5 HR and 41 RBI while splitting time between designated hitter and the unfamiliar territory of second base. Retired at age 34.

-Hit .277 for his career with a .362 on-base percentage. Retired as the second-best at his position in home runs (342) and slugging average (.464) and third-best in RBI (1,331), total bases (3,779), and walks (1,108).

-Was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a teenager, and early in the 2000s had both legs amputated below the knees as a result of the disease.

-Is one of the most popular Cubs past or present, and is beloved in Chicago for his passion for the team, which shines through in his color commentary on WGN radio. Had his #10 retired by the team in 2003. Though he's been regrettably overlooked for Hall of Fame enshrinement thus far, he claimed at his jersey retirement ceremony, "this is my Hall of Fame!".
#110 Ron Santo (back)

8 comments:

  1. The original configuration had the yellow lower seating area. This page has a few pics.

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  2. One more thing.. (sorry for the multiple posts) Santo was known for his heel click after a Cub win. He did it in 1969, it became a big deal and Met fans hated it (but got the last laugh).

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  3. Bob - Thanks for the stadium ID! I read about the heel click - I can just imagine how much that would piss me off if someone did it against my favorite team!

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  4. Outside of the Vet in Philly Shea was the crummiest stadium I've ever been in. Absolutely charmless (good knishes, though). And the 'Meet the Mets' song was fun, but otherwise it was forgettable. It was the first place I know of that had a sliding scale for ticket prices. Giant, Dodger and (I think) Cardinal games cost more than the same seats for the Phils, etc. Pretty widespread policy now.

    I saw a lot of the Mets in those days. I saw Bob Moose no-hit them in September of '69. I think they lost only one game at home after that all year. After all the crap I got from bandwagon Met fans following the Series I regretted rooting for them to beat out the Cubs. ;-(

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  5. You forgot the very important "should be in the god dammed hall of fame" in his bio.

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  6. Bob - If you regretted rooting for the Mets as soon as they'd beat the Orioles, I can only imagine what forty years of flowery media praise for the "Amazin' Mets" has done for your attitude!

    Max - Well, I said he'd been "regrettably overlooked"...but no, I didn't put it in those words. ;)

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  7. Gotta love the Cub logo that Topps used in '65. It looks quite a bit like the "Oof-Wah" Cub that was made popular around 1908 or so. Next to that Rorschach-like Cub logo, this is the best.

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