Director Jason Marck ends this special encore edition of "Eight Forty-Eight" with a remembrance. Earlier in December, IMarck was standing in the shower at 6:00 a.m. when WBEZ's Tony Sarabia came on the radio and said that Ron Santo had died. Unashamed to say he stood there for a good long time, and cried, Marck said that even though he never met him, Santo felt like a member of his family. That morning, Marck and other members of the "Eight Forty-Eight" crew arrived even earlier than usual, to deliver this tribute.
For a long time, the Friendly Confines was dominated by one of the most affable fellows you’ll ever meet. Ron Santo was the heart and soul of the loveable losers.
Before he took to the airwaves as an often stumbling but always passionate broadcaster, Ron Santo played third base in Chicago for 15 years.
He ended his career with 342 home runs, more than 1,300 RBIs and a .277 batting average. WBEZ’s Sports Contributor Cheryl Raye-Stout said he was one of the best.
In 2003, Santo’s uniform number was retired forever. He then told the sellout crowd at Wrigley Field that the stadium was his Hall of Fame. Raye-Stout said Santo was very devoted to his charity work with juvenile diabetes.
In a statement Friday, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts praised Santo for his passion, his loyalty, high great personal courage and his tremendous sense of humor. Ricketts also said the team plans to celebrate his contributions in the days ahead. But they won’t be the only ones.
Ron Santo died Thursday in an Arizona hospital from complications of bladder cancer; he was 70 years old.