Renowned Chicago Cubs third-baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo died last night in Arizona of complications from bladder cancer at age 70. “Ronnie will forever be the heart and soul of Cubs fans,” said the team’s chairman. “He enjoyed himself in the booth right to the end,” said a fellow broadcaster. The Tribune recounts his career on and off the field, including the time his toupee caught fire in the press box.
Santo entered the big leagues with the Cubs in 1960. A nine-time All-Star with a .277 average, 341 home runs, and 1,331 runs batted in after 15 seasons, he publicly hoped to enter the Hall of Fame, but never quite made it—despite numbers that put him among the great third-basemen of the game. In 1990, he began broadcasting on Cubs radio and was an unapologetic team booster. “He's still part of the team,” pitcher Kerry Wood once wrote of him. “He's the epitome of Chicago baseball.”