The day Ron Santo died

Phoebe refused to get out of bed this morning. Then she refused to get dressed. For several minutes she was running around the house with no pants on. Then she was running around with her coat on -- but still no pants. When we finally convinced her she needed to wear pants, and I was going to help her put them on, Phoebe threw a fit because she wanted Kates, who already was running late to work, to help her put them on. We got the pants on and, in our rush to leave the house, probably would have forgotten our keys and locked ourselves out had I not already started the cars.

Our chaotic daily morning routine resumed. I delivered Phoebe to her daycare and began my drive toward campus thinking about my to-do list for the day. The stories I needed to write. The meetings I need to prepare for and attend. The phone calls I needed to make. The e-mails I needed to respond. I was thankful it was Friday and anxiously awaiting the next big football game tomorrow.

This morning, I happened to be listening to the radio. Usually, I drive to campus with my iPod plugged in and then tune into Eric & Kathy online when I settle in my office.

I was driving along our picturesque University Drive when the DJ read the news …

Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo has died.

I gasped loudly. And drove the rest of the route to my office building in a daze. It was as if my world stopped. All of a sudden, nothing else seemed to matter.

I was speechless. And shocked. I couldn’t imagine following the Cubs without Ron Santo.

I’ve said it so many times: Few things gave me more enjoyment than working in our yard in K-Town while I listened to Pat and Ron call Cubs games … Even last spring, after our move, I vowed to tune into as many of their broadcasts as I could online; I painted Phoebe’s new room while listening to a Cubs game.

I'll miss the countless hours I spent laughing with him on the radio or laughing at him. ... Or the afternoons Kates and I spent driving and listening to the broadcasts -- and the ways Kates rolled her eyes or laughed right along with me at Ron's antics.

From the Chicago Tribune's David Haugh ...
"Smooth, Santo wasn't. That was part of his on-air charm. You didn't listen to the "Pat and Ron Show'' (featuring the most patient play-by-play man in the business, Pat Hughes) necessarily for Santo's acumen. You listened to hear two guys who genuinely liked each other make baseball sound as much fun as it was when we were kids."
From the Chicago Sun-Times' Rick Morrissey ...
"He didn’t need to rip players. You didn’t have to read into anything he was saying. More so than the actual words, his tone said it all. “Gosh!” or “Jeez!’’ was followed by unintelligible grumbling and then, finally, deep depression. He didn’t live and breathe Cubs. He radiated Cubs."
From ESPN Chicago ...
"It was kind of like sitting in a room with my uncle, only the guy screaming and yelling doesn't know that a million people are listening to him."
I won’t be the first, or the last, to say Ron Santo was the ultimate Cub. He was one of the greatest players to wear the uniform and one of the franchise’s most beloved fans. … He should be in the Hall of Fame.

I’ll forever cherish the afternoons and evenings I spent listening to him on the radio and, especially, the day I got to tell him that in person.

I've been reading all of the Santo-related tweets, status updates, blogs and tributes with great interest today -- and scavenging YouTube for some of his best performances. Just to hear him again.

I'll miss you, Ron.

Check out these photos from Wrigley today.

Good reads (updated 1.4.2011)...
a Chicago Breaking Sports: Rogers: Remembering Ron Santo
a CSN Chicago: Cubs legend Ron Santo dies at age 70
a Daily Herald: Tough and caring, Santo had it all
a Daily Herald: This old Cub was the real thing
a ESPN: Why isn't Ron Santo in the Hall of Fame?
a ESPN: Most underrated 3B: Ron Santo
a ESPN Chicago: Remembering a childhood hero, friend
a Desipio: So long, Big Boy
a Joe Posnanski: The Greatest Player Not in the Hall
a Washington Post: Ron Santo's play, then broadcasting, comforted Cubs fans for decades
a Chicago Tribune: 10 defining Ron Santo moments
a David Kaplan: A Tribute To Ron Santo: Audio Edition Part II
a WGN: Pat Huges at Ron Santo's funeral
a Daily Herald: Ron Santo's last gift to his family

From YouTube ...
a "This Old Cub" theatrical trailer
a Classic Ron Santo and Pat Hughes
a Ron Santo Is Crazy (But Funny)
a Carlos Zambrano no hitter Pat and Ron call
a Ron Santo: Take me out to the ballgame

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