Cubs Legend Ron Santo Opens Little League Park

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By Paul M. Banks
On Saturday, June 14th, current WGN radio Cubs broadcaster Ron Santo appeared at Little Cubs Field in Freeport, IL. Santo, a legendary figure within the Cubs franchise, appeared for the Cubs’ official opening of a little league park built to replicate Wrigley Field.

In “Pretzel City,” about 30 miles west of Rockford, Santo was the guest of honor at a private reception held at the Freeport Park District office. Ticket buyers enjoyed a private chat with Ron, autographs, photos, and more. The proceeds benefited Little Cubs Field, a nonprofit corporation that constructed a Wrigley Field replica in Read Park in Freeport. (www.littlecubsfield.com) The Ron Santo flag featuring his #10 on the left field foul pole once flew in the big park on Chicago’s North side. After the reception, a large crowd was on hand to watch Santo tour the park before he gave a speech. “No doubt about that it is a big league scoreboard and when I walked on to the field here, I felt like I was walking on to Wrigley Field; and I felt like I was walking on air,” the nine time National League All-Star said.

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He also took questions from the audience before throwing out the ceremonial first ball, and leading the crowd in the traditional singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” prior to that afternoon’s little league contest. Ron Santo’s son, Ron Jr. was also on hand for the ceremonies, and he (along with Little Cubs Field founder and visionary Denny Garkey) took turns in batting practice off the five time Gold Glove award winner. “There is no doubt that any kid who comes to play here is going to want to take it up a notch and get to the big leagues. You’ve done an amazing job with all the attention to detail,” Santo said. 

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The current Cubs color analyst is known for many things outside of his playing career, including his unabashed on-air cheerleading and the success he has had in his personal struggle with diabetes during his life.  When he was diagnosed at age 18, doctors gave him a life expectancy of 25 years. The current 68 year old Santo was named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation “Person of the Year” in 2002. Two years ago, Santo, the subject of “This Old Cub,” a theatre released documentary film  created by his son Jeff, came within five votes of the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. He is eligible again in 2009.

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Comments

  1. I wish Santo the best in 2009.

  2. Bronzeville Cubs Fan says

    You know he’s going to get into cooperstown this time

  3. The Statue of Harold Baines says

    fo scho

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