To love like this

Ron Santo passed away last night. The courage to have both legs amputated and deal with the diabetes and subsequent ailments that is causes, is obvious…
Here is the story from his home town newspaper;

[quote]Legendary Chicago Cubs player and broadcaster Ron Santo died Thursday night in Arizona. He was 70.

Friends of Santo’s family said the North Side icon lapsed into a coma on Wednesday before dying Thursday. Santo died of complications from bladder cancer, WGN-AM 720 reported.

“He absolutely loved the Cubs,” said Santo’s broadcast partner, Pat Hughes. “The Cubs have lost their biggest fan.”

Hughes noted that with all the medical problems Santo had–including diabetes with resulting leg amputations, heart disease and bladder cancer–“he never complained. He wanted to have fun. He wanted to talk baseball.”

“He considered going to games therapeutic. He enjoyed himself in the booth right to the end.”

“We were together for so long,” said a mournful Billy Williams, who played alongside Santo for many years. “We formed a bond. It’s just like losing a brother.”

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts released a statement: "My siblings and I first knew Ron Santo as fans, listening to him in the broadcast booth. We knew him for his passion, his loyalty, his great personal courage and his tremendous sense of humor. It was our great honor to get to know him personally in our first year as owners.

“Ronnie will forever be the heart and soul of Cubs fans.”

The former Cubs third baseman had continued to work as a Cubs analyst on WGN, the team’s flagship radio broadcast, despite his health issues. He was expected to return for the 2011 season. He missed several road trips in 2010 but insisted he would return.

“What else am I going to do?” Santo said during this past season. “Doing the Cubs games is like therapy for me.”

Former Cubs teammate Randy Hundley, who also worked in the broadcast booth with Santo, said none of Santo’s teammates realized he had diabetes until one night in St. Louis when he made a bad throw to first base and went down on one knee in pain.

Later they found out Santo had had the disease for six years, Hundley said. “We kidded him about it quite a bit, made his life miserable at times,” said the former catcher.

Former Cubs President John McDonough compared Santo to Harry Caray, another baseball broadcasting legend, noting neither had a filter, broadcast with unvarnished emotion and were enormously entertaining.

Santo mangled names, sometimes lost track of what was going on in a game and occasionally didn’t realize some player had been on the roster for months, but none of that mattered because people loved it, McDonough said. “We almost thought he was doing it on purpose,” he said. “It added so much entertainment value.”

One of the rare times he saw Santo visibly upset, McDonough recalled, was after Frank Sinatra Jr. sang during the 7th-inning stretch years ago. As Sinatra left the booth, he turned to Santo and told him he thought Santo was one of the best pitchers he had ever seen. “Ronny lost it,” McDonough said.

Santo was the quintessential Cubs fan and made no apologies for his on-air cheerleading or his utter frustration over a Cub’s misplay.

On many occasions, when Santo was upset with the way things were going for the team, a simple grunt sufficed.

“I’m a fan,” he explained last summer. "I can’t plan what I do. I get embarrassed sometimes when I hear what I said, like, ‘Oh, no, what’s going on?’ But it’s an emotion.

“This is being a Cub fan.”[/quote]

Ronny was the inspiration for me on what it was to work…he wore shirtsleeves and never complained…was an RBI machine…but above it all…The man loved our game…he loved it…A burning passion an unabashed FAN he would cheer his team never finding his hollering or cheering an embarressment he Loved the Cubbies. I’ve always been that kind of fan…I holler and openly cheer…always felt those who had no emotion about the game ought to give up thier seat to some kid who would love to cheer…
He loved it so much he invented a kind of pizza a fan could enjoy at the park…
Never made the Hall…but great people have little need for accolades…yes he wanted to be inducted but to just be at Wrigley…to see those boys in blue…it made his day…
As the band “The Crash Test Dummies” so very eloquently said it…
And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him…

I never met him, but saw him from across the ball field MANY times at Spring Training in Mesa, Ariz. I truly great loss for the Cubs organization and the fans in Chicago who loved him.