Ronald Edward Santo (February 25, 1940 – December 3, 2010) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) third baseman who played for the Chicago Cubs from 1960 through 1973 and the Chicago White Sox in 1974. In 1990, Santo became a member of the Cubs broadcasting team providing commentary for Cubs games on WGN radio and remained at that position until he died. In 1999, he was selected to the Cubs All-Century Team. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
Santo was an All-Star for nine seasons during his 15-year career. He led the National League (NL) in triples one-time, in walks four-times, and in on-base percentage two-times. He batted .300 or more and hit 30 or more home runs four-times each, and is the only third baseman in MLB history to post eight consecutive seasons with over 90 runs batted in (RBI) (1963–70). He the only third baseman after Eddie Mathews to hit 300 career home runs and is second to Mathews in slugging average (.464), and is the third ranking third baseman in walks (1,108), in RBI (1,331), and total bases (3,779).
He also was a Gold Glove Award winner for five consecutive seasons. He led the NL in total chances eight-times, in games, putouts and assists seven-times each, and in double plays six-times. From 1966 to 1974, he held the NL record for assists in a single season. He also set NL records for career assists (4,532), total chances (6,777) and double plays (389) at third base, all of which were eventually broken between 1986 and 1988 by Mike Schmidt. His NL total of 2,102 games at third base is 52 short of Mathews' league record, and he ranks sixth in putouts (1,930) and ninth in fielding percentage (.954).
Santo enjoyed his success despite battling diabetes since he was a teenager, a condition which was carefully and generally concealed publically until 1971; it eventually necessitated the amputation of the lower half of both his legs. Since 1979, Santo endorsed the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's annual Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes in Chicago. He helped raise over $65 million for the foundation. In 2002, he was named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's "Person of the Year".
By Dean Hanley
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