Results tagged ‘ Ron Santo ’
With Wrigley Field’s newest statue unveiled, the entire Cubs family was thinking of and celebrating Ron Santo today. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Members of the Santo family will honor No. 10 by conducting his favorite sing-a-long on Wednesday. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Here’s a current listing of the seventh-inning stretch conductors for this weekend:
- Monday, Aug. 8. Dave Kaplan / Comcast SportsNet and WGN Radio host
- Tuesday, Aug. 9. Fergie Jenkins / Hall of Fame pitcher
- Wednesday, Aug. 10. Santo family / Ron Santo Day honors
While you’re at the ballpark this week, be sure to pick up a Vine Line Game Day Edition, the Wrigley Field program and scorecard that’s only $2.
Straight from the August issue of Vine Line, Pat Hughes talked to Vine Line about the inspiration he, and many others, drew from the late Cubs great.
Vine Line: You’re planning on recording a Ron Santo edition of your audio series, Baseball Voices (for Thanksgiving release). What makes him a great broadcaster to include?
Pat Hughes: Well, it’s not so much that he was a great broadcaster, but he was entertaining. The humor, the fun, the laughter, that’s mainly the attraction for putting this one together. People will ﬁnd it enormously entertaining; they’ll want to play this over and over again. I laugh like crazy just when I hear these things, and I’ve heard them a hundred times already! So it’s basically entertainment; it’s fun, it’s laughter, it’s the way he would want to be remembered. This is not going to be Ron Santo: The Ballplayer, it’s not going to be so much Ron Santo: The Diabetes Spokesman, this is going to be Ronnie: The Broadcaster Who Made Us Laugh.
VL: As a longtime broadcaster and a student of the trade, what did you learn from Ronnie?
PH: I think I learned to laugh at myself—that’s the best thing he taught me. Learn to laugh at yourself, because when you laugh at yourself then you can laugh at others, and everyone has fun. And that’s a very valuable thing to learn. Don’t take yourself too seriously, life really is short. You should have fun. It’s OK if others have fun at my expense. I didn’t used to like that, but now I say, “What the hell, if you want to laugh at me or with me, it doesn’t even matter.” As long as you’re having fun because of me, that’s all I really care about.
Don’t forget: Ron Santo Day is Wednesday, Aug. 10.
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.
“I was so excited. I was at the ballpark very early. I got dressed — our clubhouse was down the leftfield line then — and I walked out and just stood there. Then Ernie [Banks] came out. We started walking down. The stands were empty, but I felt like I was walking on air. It was a feeling I’ve never had again in my life.”
Don’t miss our full cover story when the March issue hits your mailbox later this month!
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In the April edition of Vine Line, we debuted a back-page column called “The 10th Inning with….” which offers fan perspectives from the outside looking in. The fans are mainly celebrities or prominent personalities around Chicago giving their impressions on all things Cubs.
We’ve received a nice amount of positive feedback on the column and hopefully it will appear every other month, alternating with “Stretching Out with…”
Popular WXRT Radio on-air personality Lin Brehmer was nice enough to volunteer his services as our inaugural columnist. He has been a die-hard Cubs fan since 1984, when he moved to Chicago. Here is his story:
Cubs fans come from every corner. They grow up at the corner of Southport Avenue and Irving Park Road, and come back to discover a post office where their houses used to be. They grow up on the farms of Iowa, where the crackle of a transistor radio transports them to another world. My collision course was nothing short of providential.
Raised in a region where the pinstripes were of a different color, four brothers from Oak Park, Ill., introduced me to the lineup of Kessinger, Beckert, Williams, Santo, Banks, Hundley, Altman and Phillips. We roamed the asphalt schoolyards of New York looking for a game. Playing stickball, Joel, Adam, Benji, D.K. and I would take turns being the Chicago Cubs or the New York Yankees.
In 1970, we started the Cleo James fan club for the unheralded and unloved Cubs outfielder. This past October, 38 years later, Benji sent me an official looking document that reads:
“For Lin Brehmer: Founding Member and President-for-Life of THE CLEO JAMES FAN CLUB. In honor of, and appreciation for, Mr. Cleo James, Outfielder, Chicago Cubs (1970-1971).”
And then there’s an anonymous quotation: “He won some, he lost some, but he suited up for them all.” In the middle of the document in a protective plastic sleeve is a baseball card of good old number 24. On the back of the baseball card we learn that Cleo’s hobby was table tennis.
I first arrived in Chicago in 1984 on the promise of World Series tickets.
Perhaps, I was naive.
1984. The year of nicknames. Sarge. Ryno. Penguin. The baseball world was giddy with talk of the Cubs that summer. It was the season that Whitey Herzog, the eminence grise of the Cardinals, called Ryne Sandberg the greatest player he’d ever seen.
My job interview was grueling. I spent the summer eating stuffed pizza and watching the Cubs. By September, I was hunting for a place to live. Tooling around the North Side in a borrowed Mazda, I drove to the corner of Clark and Addison and stopped.
I am not a casual baseball fan. As a skinny pre-teen, I was a fire-balling southpaw for such teams as Lazar’s Kosher Meats, Gerard Towers, and the star-crossed Michael C. Fina Jewelers.
In 1971 and 1972, I was the MVP of my high school baseball team. When Rotisserie Baseball was invented at the start of the ’80s, I immediately took my team, Brehmer’s Bombers, to the cellar. I’ve coached youth baseball for six years.
So that first view of Wrigley Field might as well have been accompanied by a cinematic choir of angels or by the sonorous voice of James Earl Jones summoning me, “Lin Brehmer, this is your destiny.”
The Cubs did not go to the World Series in 1984. I know because I watched Game 5 against the Padres in my landlord’s apartment right beneath my own on the 3700 block of N. Wayne Avenue.
And a strange fever grew.
Living four blocks from Wrigley Field, I spent the next few baseball seasons in the right-centerfield bleachers with Marty, Mars, Wendy, Norm and Sara.
My apartment window had a sign in the window that read “No Lights In Wrigley Field,” and as soon as lights were installed, we protested by buying a night game/weekend season ticket package. Aisle 239. Row 4.
‘ve been to 28 out of the last 29 Opening Days. My mental scrapbook holds many images: Mark Grace’s torrid postseason run in ’89. Gaetti’s home run in the ’98 one-game wild-card playoff. The nine-run comeback against the Rockies in the summer of ’08.
And my favorite moment of all: Andre Dawson’s final home game in ’87. That was the year that Dawson offered the Cubs a blank check for his salary and won the MVP for a last-place club.
All season long the bleachers would pay tribute to Dawson’s unrelenting commitment by bowing to him as he jogged out to rightfield. Andre Dawson was cut from different marble than most media-savvy ball players of the modern era. He was as stoic a presence as I have ever seen in a major-league outfield.
On that last day, Dawson hit his 49th home run. When he trotted out to his place, he faced the bleachers for the first time, raised his arms in the air and bowed repeatedly to the fans. The gesture was so out of character that it spoke to the man’s caliber.
I have watched the Cubs now through my son’s eyes. He went to 15 games before he was 1 year old. As a toddler, he ran up the ramps and then down the ramps. He watched the “El” from the rightfield corner. And one afternoon I looked to my left to see him with a pencil in his hand, peanut shells scattered on an open scorebook, writing 6-4-3 DP. A Cubs fan born and bred. A kid gathering stories to pass on to another generation. A young man who will understand there is no winning without losing.
Robert Browning, who knew nothing of baseball but much of human nature, once wrote, “That heaven should exceed a man’s grasp or what’s a heaven for.”
Every year, I take a magic marker and draw an X through the month of October. That’s because I plan on being at Wrigley Field through the end of that month.
Lin Brehmer has been the morning disc jockey at 93XRT since 1991. He first came to the station in 1984 so he could go to the World Series at Wrigley Field.
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