For so many years, Cubs fans have anticipated the arrival of this historic and much to long awaited celebration.
Considering it’s the middle of July, it isn’t a World Series championship.
Instead, this Sunday, July 22, Cubs fans will watch as their favorite and most recognizable third basemen is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Now while Ernie Banks is nicknamed “Mr. Cub”, it’s difficult not to compare Santo to a level equal to that as single handily the biggest Cubs fan in the world. His love for the team could be heard numerous times throughout a game when he began his post-career play as the Cubs radio color commentator in 1990.
Santo’s induction into the HOF brings great pride to Cubs fans and the organization, but regardless, it still remains a bittersweet moment as his death feels like the turning point that earned him this prestigious award 37 years after he played in his final game.
Here are just a few statistics on Santo’s 15-year career that would make any baseball analyst scratch his head as to why to long delay for this much deserving award:
- 342 home runs
- 1,331 RBIs
- 2,254 hits
- 9x All-Star (1963-1966, 1968-1969, and 1971-1973)
- 5x Gold Glove (1964-1968)
Third basemen are scarce in Cooperstown as is evident by the 14 total already enshrined before Santo will be on Sunday, but his nine All-Star appearances and five straight gold gloves alone merits an induction as soon as he was eligible.
Beyond his statistics, Santo brought to light the difficulty he and other athletes suffered with type 1 diabetes. Like so many other athletes then and today, the fear that it becomes public information you have a disease or injury, you feel the necessity you must conceal the information to prevent your spot on the field from being taken over and possibly replaced.
Despite the small amount of research on type 1 diabetes a the time and the proper way to regulate ones sugar intake, Santo was given a life expectancy of 25 years which everyone knows to be false with his 70 years of life. He had both legs amputated from the knees down in 2001 and 2002, the right and left respectively.
Even though Santo will not be present to give his speech and receive his award on Sunday, the only thing he would want more than anything is a Cubs victory that same day against arch-rival, St. Louis on his special day.
Also to note, Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin will join Santo in Cooperstown, as the two will be inducted together into the Hall.
Congrats to both inductees on their amazing careers in the MLB.
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