In many ways Ron Santo was the Cubs answer to Phil Rizzuto.
He was a great player, a borderline Hall of Famer who, like Rizzuto, was surrounded by many other Hall of Famers (Banks, Jenkins, Williams…)
He was a fan favorite whose value went beyond the stats, kind of like the Scooter.
And as a announcer, he did not fill the role of skilled broadcaster but like Rizzuto, that’s what made him work behind the mike.
If the Scooters was the hilarious sometimes absent minded Italian uncle, then Santo was the sloshed but passionate Cubs fan.
It often sounded like they pulled in someone from the bleachers to call an inning or two.
While Scooter would talk about a great Italian dinner he had and admit to writing “Wasn’t Watching” in his score card, Santo would yell and scream like a passionate Cubs fan would.
Sometimes he was incoherent. Sometimes it would be a simple “Oh no…” or a “YEAH!” that would be uttered while the poor play by play guy would be doing most of the heavy lifting.
It was always a treat listening to Cubs games on my XM Radio and call my friend and Cubs fan Rob Paravonian to say “Quick! Listen to the Cubs. Santo is going nuts.”
Sadly we will never hear him call a Cubs World Series title.
Here he is calling a three homer game by Aramis Ramirez.
Rest in peace… baseball games just got a little less fun.