For love of Santo

Straight from the August issue of Vine Line, we asked Ron Santo’s longtime radio partner, Pat Hughes, to talk about his projects dedicated to celebrating the beloved third baseman’s life.

Vine Line: What did you hope to accomplish with this book, “A Perfect 10”?

Pat Hughes: Initially it was just going to be the broadcasters and maybe some other guys that shared the booth with him. And then I started thinking, “Let’s get his family involved and let’s get some of his ex-teammates involved.” He was such an outrageous character, funny, forgetful, he had that temper, but he could be so, so friendly and generous—and the work he did for charity. So we all have stories about Ron. Anybody who spent more than about a year around him would have all kinds of stories. So that’s what the book is, stories about Ron Santo that make you laugh, some of them make you cry. But this is the way I think that he would’ve liked to have been remembered.

VL: As in your eulogy (above), you set out to illustrate a multifaceted Ronnie.

PH: It’s an interesting mix of people in the book. It’s his family, it’s his sister—his father was an alcoholic and was abusive to his mother. Then, being diabetic, the broadcast stories, the funny things that we talked about on the air, the money he raised for JDRF [Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation], the work he did there, the way he handled his problems was unbelievable. You forget what a good ballplayer he was. Hall of Fame-caliber, and he’s one of the most popular broadcasters the Cubs have ever had. When you add it all together, you realize there’s never really been anybody quite like him. And there really should be a movie about his life.

Check back tomorrow for more of the interview.

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