October 19, 2019

Ron Santo, el legendario antesalista de los Cachorros de Chicago, falleció el 02 de diciembre de 2010. (Ron Santo the legendary third baseman of the Chicago Cubs passed away this December 2nd, 2010.

December 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

  Cuando este viernes 03 de diciembre de 2010 escuché en la radio que Ron Santo había fallecido fue inevitable la imagen de aquella noche siguiendo el juego de estrellas de 1968. Aunque el juego terminó 1-0 y ninguno de los dos antesalistas tuvo injerencia determinante en el resultado, Felipe y Jesús Mario siguieron su disputa particular sobre los atributos de cada tercera base. También recordé todo el material hemerográfico que había coleccionado para escribir una biografía de Ron Santo.

 Ronald Edward Santo, nació en Seattle, Washington, USA, un 25 de febrero de 1940. Fue diagnosticado con diabetes a los 18 años. En 1959 la esperanza de vida para un diabético era 25 años. Se enteró de las consecuencias de esa enfermedad, leyó que los diabéticos podían quedar ciegos, desarrollar endurecimiento de las arterias, fallas en los riñones, gangrena. “También supe que mediante el ejercicio y la regulación de la insulina podía controlar la diabetes”

 Santo fue el único pelotero de posición que jugó una carrera completa de 15 años en Grandes Ligas y además dejó números sobresalientes. La gente le preguntaba como hizo para lograr eso. La respuesta. “Siempre fui un tipo positivo. Mi madre significó una gran parte de mi actitud positiva. Tenía dos trabajos. Trabajaba desde las 8 de la mañana hasta las 9 de la noche. Siempre regresaba a casa con la mejor de sus sonrisas para mi hermana y para mí. Siempre nos decía que las cosas iban a salir bien. Mi papá nos abandonó cuando tenía 6 años. Mi mamá y mi padrastro murieron en un accidente de tránsito mientras viajaban para ir a verme jugar en los entrenamientos primaverales. Perdí un hermano a los 38 años. Pero hay que tener la fortaleza de asimilar los golpes y sobrevivir.”.

  Don Kessinger quién jugara short stop para los Cachorros de Chicago entre 1964 y 1975, y quizás quien haya visto mas que nadie a Santo jugar en tercera base dijo que lo que más recuerda de él es la intensidad con que salía  a jugar cada día. “Haber sido elegido al Salón de la Fama, habría sido muy significativo para Ron Santo”.

 Para Santo el béisbol y la familia eran la terapia que lo mantenía vivo. “Entre mis nietos y los aficionados al beisbol me hicieron olvidar el hecho de que iba a perder las piernas. Mi pasión por ellos me ha hecho vivir todos estos años”.

 Santo quién había terminado en septiembre de 2010 una carrera de 21 años como narrador de los juegos de los Cachorros de Chicago, falleció este jueves 02 de diciembre de 2010 en Arizona por complicaciones de cáncer de próstata.

 Alguna vez trataron de compararlo con Brooks Robinson para justificar sus méritos para ser electo al Salón de la Fama. Santo respondió: “Tienen razón en algunas cosas, pero la comparación con Robinson es innecesaria, él fue el mejor. Nunca vi alguien mejor en esa posición. Fui bueno. Pero él fue el mejor. El merecía estar en el Salón de la Fama en su primera oportunidad”.

 Mike Krueger de 55 años, manejó desde su casa en Whiting , Ind. , para dejar una nota a la entrada de Wrigley Field donde los aficionados armaron una montaña de memorabilia en homenaje a Ron Santo. “Viví día a día la temporada de 1969. Vivía al norte de la ciudad y tomaba dos buses para ir a ver a los Cachorros con sus amigos. Todavía siente el dolor de la debacle de aquella temporada.

En una ocasión le preguntaron a Santo si tuviera la oportunidad de cambiar  algo en su carrera como pelotero que sería. “Cambiaría el mes de septiembre de 1969”.

 Ron Santo terminó su carrera con .277 de promedio al bate, 2254 hits, 342 jonrones, y 1331 carreras empujadas. También ganó el guante de oro 5 veces.

 Al final de aquella temporada de 1968, un año antes que los milagrosos Mets dejaran en la cuneta a los Cachorros, Jesús Mario hojeó un Sport Gráfico y le leyó a Felipe: “Ron Santo a la defensiva en 1968: 162 juegos, 1444.1 innings, 130 outs, 378 asistencias (lider), 15 errores, 33 dobleplays (lider), .971 promedio defensivo (lider).

Alfonso L. Tusa C.

English translation

 That night of July of 1968, my brother mixed their baseball fever with the high school math lessons written on their notebooks. They talked about an All Star game. The hardest discussion was about two guys who played a position they called “the hot corner”. Felipe talked about Brooks Robinson as if he knew the ballplayer from long time ago. “Brooks Robinson is capable of fielding a bunt with his eyes closed and still put the fastest runner out”. Jesus Mario put his hands in the inside of the pockets of his pants. “Ron Santo can make all the plays in third base. I’ve seen him even fielding balls behind Don Kessinger and making the outs”.

 When this Friday, December 3rd, 2010 I listened in the radio that Ron Santo had passed away, it was inevitable the image of that night with my brothers while listening to the All Star game of 1968. Although the game ended with a 1-0 win for the National League and none of the two third basemen had  anything to do with the score, Felipe and Jesus Mario kept their particular  discussion about each third baseman’s attributes. I also recalled all of the bibliography I had collected to write a Ron Santo’s biography.

 Ronald Edward Santo was born in Seattle, Washington, USA, on February 25th,1940. He was diagnosed with diabetes at 18 years old. In 1959 life expectancy for diabetics was 25. He read about the consequences of that illness, blindness, hardening of the arteries, kidney failure, gangrene. “I figured out right away that exercise and regulating your insulin are the real keys to managing diabetes, and that’s why I was able to play baseball.”

 Santo was the only position player who had a complete career of 15 years in MLB and besides posted remarkable stats. People asked him how did he accomplished that. The answer. “I was always a positive guy. My mother was a big part of my positive attitude. She had two jobs; she worked from eight o’clock in the morning until nine o’clock at night, and she’d come home to my sister and me always positive, smiling, and saying everything’s going to be all right. My mother and stepfather were killed in an automobile accident coming to see me at spring training. I lost a stepbrother at age 38. My dad left us when I was six years old. You think celebrities don’t have these kinds of problems, but they do. But you know, you’re able to survive.”

 Don Kessinger who played short stop for the Chicago Cubs between 1964 and 1975, and maybe who most had seen Santo playing at third base than anybody else ???d wh?t h? remembers m??t ?? h?w hard h?? teammate played ???r? single day. Kessinger ???d Santo deserved t? b? ?n th? Hall ?f Fame, ?nd ??nn?t know wh? h? w?? never elected. “It w??ld h??? meant ?? much t? Ron Santo t? b? elected ?nt? th?t awesome hall.”

 For Santo, it was baseball and family the therapy that kept him alive. “Baseball has been the best therapy for me, there’s no doubt about it—along with my family, of course. Family is number one. When these complications happened to me, my life couldn’t have been any better. I didn’t have to worry about making a baseball team. All I had to worry about was walking, staying alive, being with my grandchildren, and doing the games. And the fans—I can’t tell you how many boxes of mail I got, and the love that these fans have for me. When I was going through what I was going through, I’d come to the ballpark and I wouldn’t even think about the fact that I was going to be losing a leg”.

 Santo, who had finished a long career of 21 years as a broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs in September 2010, passed away this Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, in Arizona due to bladder cancer complications.

Once a baseball writer tried of comparing Santo with Brooks Robinson, and said that maybe the fact that he never went to the World Series with the Cubs hurt his chances of being in the Hall of Fame. Santo answered: “You’re right about a couple of things, but when it comes to Brooks Robinson, he really was the best. At that position, I’ve never seen anybody better. I was good, but he was the best. He deserved to be in the Hall of Fame and on the first ballot, because I would have voted for him. I played in a lot of All Star games against him and he robbed me of so many hits. There is no doubt I feel if we would have won, yes. I think ‘69 had a lot to do with it”.

 Mike Krueger, 55, drove from his home in Whiting, Ind, to leave a note at Wrigley Field’s entrance as a tribute to Santo. “”I’m a child of ’69,” said Krueger, who grew up on the city’s North Side and used to take two buses to Wrigley with his buddies, lugging a bag of sandwiches. He said he still bears the heartbreak of so many fans from that oh-so-close season.

 Sometime ago another writer asked Santo what would he change in his career as a ballplayer. “I would change the month of September in ‘69.”

 Ron Santo had this lifetime stats: .277 batting average, 2254 hits, 342 home runs and 1331 RBI’s. He also won the gold glove five times.

  At the end of that season of 1968, a year before the Miracle Mets beat the Cubs, Jesus Mario read an issue of the Sport Gráfico magazine to Felipe: “Ron Santo’s defensive stats in 1968: 162 games, 1444.1 innings, 130 outs, 378 assists (leader), 15 errors, 33 double plays (leader), .971 defensive average (leader).

 Alfonso L. Tusa C.

Alfonso’s work has been featured in Venezuela’s daily newspaper, El Nacional and in the magazine Gente en Ambiente, and he’s collaborated on several articles for newspapers, including the daily paper Tal Cual. He’s also written three books and biographies for SABR’s BioProject.

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