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Ron Santo Dies at 70, After Lapsing Into Coma

Fri December 03 2010 5:54 am
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Ron Santo: “Normally I would get a symptom of low blood sugar about quarter to four every day … [one day] I look at the scoreboard and I see three scoreboards.”

Ron Santo (February 25, 1940 – December 2, 2010) who was hoping to return for the 2011 MLB season, lapsed into a coma on Wednesday and died Thursday. He battled diabetes and bladder cancer. He died apparently from complications of bladder cancer.

You only have one way to go, and that’s a positive way.”
— Ron Santo #10

During a 14-year baseball career from 1960-74, Ron Santo mainly as the regular third baseman for the Chicago Cubs. Santo was a productive player despite suffering from diabetes, which he carefully concealed for 80% of his career. To battle the diabetes the amputation of both of his legs was eventually necessary to save Santo’s life. People who have diabetes are vulnerable to nerve and vascular damage that can result in loss of protective sensation in the feet (Diabetic neuropathy), poor circulation (peripheral vascular disease), and poor healing of foot ulcers. Infections can become chronic because of poor blood flow, which can lead to gangrene — the death of tissue. All of these conditions contribute to the high amputation rate in people with diabetes.

As former Cubs third baseman, Ron Santo continue to work as a Cubs analyst on WGN. Santo never considered giving up his work alongside play-by-play man Pat Hughes. Santo missed several road trips during the 2010 MLB season, but returned to work.

Santo was drafted as an amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 1959, and made his debut on June 26, 1960.

Santo was nine-time National League All-Star, and led the league in walks four times, in on base percentage twice and in triples once.

Santo hit for a .300 average and hit 30 home runs four times each, and is the only third baseman in major league history to post eight consecutive seasons with 90 (RBI) (1963-1970).

Ron Santo was the winner of five consecutive Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence (1964-1968), and he set or tied National League records by leading the league’s third basemen in total chances eight times in games and putouts, and seven times in assists each, and six times in double plays.

From 1966 to 1974 Ron Santo held the National League record for assists in a single season. He also set National League records for career assists (4,532), total chances (6,777) and double plays (389) at third base. All of those records were eventually broken by Mike Schmidt between 1986 and 1988.

Ron Santo’s National League total of 2,102 games at third base fell 52 short of Eddie Mathews’ league record.

Ron Santo led the league in double plays six times (1961, ’64, ’66, ’67, ’68, ’71), tying the major league record held by Heinie Groh. Schmidt also later tied the league double play record.

Ron Santo appeared at third base in every Cubs game from April 19, 1964 through May 31, 1966, which established a league record with 364 consecutive games. Santo’s 164 games at third base in 1965 remain MLB record.

Ron Santo’s jersey #10 was retired by the Chicago Cubs on September 28, 2003. At the time, only Ernie Banks (#14) and Billy Williams (#26) shared the honor.

Ron Santo video trailer This Old Cub with tributes from Tommy Lasorda, Bill Murray, Dennis Franz and more … and the famous heel click.

See also …
Ron Santo Player Page on …

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