COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Ron Santo had to die to get into the Hall of Fame. It shouldn’t have happened but it did, and everyone knows it.
What we didn’t know until Sunday was that in some ways it could seem better that Santo was inducted in the second person, not the first.
Randy Hundley, Santo’s teammate on the Cubs from 1966-73, was happy to make the trip to upstate New York to honor his old friend. He would have loved to toast him in the flesh but celebrated him nonetheless.
"I feel wonderful for him, and I feel like he’s here," Hundley said on Sunday. "I can feel him around everything here. This is something he always wanted. But I don’t know if he could have handled it if he had been here. The way he is, he would have been so emotional. I’m glad we had the opportunity to be here for him."
He hid his diabetes to play ball for many years, to be a GREAT PLAYER HALL OF FAME WORTHY: batter, fielder, he did it all well. But he hid his disease. He later became a coach, a commentator for the Cubs and eventually lost both legs below the knee as a result of diabetes.
He died in 2010 from complications of bladder cancer and diabetes.
Wow, kind of sad! I'm not a sports fan so I hope I don't offend anyone, but it sounds like he hid his disease from everyone including himself. Sounds like kind of a waste to me. I don't know all the facts of course (since I'd never heard of him before) but if he hid and neglected his health to play baseball that sounds like skewed values.
He was a great supporter of the JDRF in retirement raising something like $65 million for them over the years. You have to remember that he played before modern treatment options - no pumps, no rapids, no basal insulins, no glucose monitors. Joslin medalists are honored because so few were able to achieve normal or near normal life spans under those conditions.
He had a long career as a broadcaster after retirement and was dearly loved in the city of Chicago and by many former team mates. Given the hand he was dealt, I don't second guess his choices.
I agree completely. We have so many products now that were not available in the 60s and 70s when he was playing. I grew up listening to the Cubs, but really can't remember if his diabetes was ever mentioned. But people were much less likely to discuss any medical conditions then. When I was working on my BSN in the late 70s we were still debating the ethics of telling a patient that their condition was terminal or telling children they were adopted.
He never really hid from himself; he hid from the team management.
Today there are news stories about pumpers in college, the NFL, baseball. That did not happen at that time. No one wanted to take the risk, It is unfortunate that there are so many type 1s today that is is still newsworthy, but outlandish discrimination is allowed.
I agree with still young--it was a different time, technology, PR and attitude.
I find it very sad. PLUS, if the druggies who were up this year had not been shunned (McGwire, Palmeiros, and Ginzalez) he may not have made it
Thanks for clarifying my misconceptions, guys. I didn't realize this person was retired and had had type 1 "back in the day". Nor that he was a JDRF supporter. I jumped to the wrong conclusion that he didn't care for his Diabetes.(and yeah, my biases about sports came through too!) It's hard for some of us diagnosed more recently to really understand just how poor the resources were in the fairly recent past
It's sort of sad because, the general "knock" was that his BA was not Hall-worthy but some writers have pointed out that he played during the "big pitcher" ERA vs guys like Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson, on higher mounds so his numbers weren't as good as they'd have been in the past or future. Good fielder. One of my buddies who's a Chisox fan said that he was a "%*&$" which, coming from a Sox fan, is sort of a compliment. He's been cited as an example of a guy who should be in the Hall of Fame but isn't by Bill James. It would have been nice to have him there to enjoy the hooplah.