Wisch: Does Ron Santo Deserve A Wrigley Statue?

By Dave Wischnowsky–

The news was stunning, if not surprising, this morning when I woke up, turned on the TV and learned from the crawl on the screen that Ron Santo had passed away at 70 after a lifetime of health issues.

There’s much that can, and surely will, be said about the Cubs legend today, from his passion for his former team to his clumsy-but-lovable broadcasting style to his playing career. But, right now, I’ll just say this about Ron Santo:

I’ll miss him.

Cubs radio broadcasts – Hughes and Santo were truly a magical combination – just won’t be the same in 2011.
This morning, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts released a statement about Santo, in which he said: “My siblings and I first knew Ron Santo as fans, listening to him in the broadcast booth. We knew him for his passion, his loyalty, his great personal courage and his tremendous sense of humor. It was our great honor to get to know him personally in our first year as owners.

“Ronnie will forever be the heart and soul of Cubs fans.”

That he will be. Which begs the question: Does Ron Santo deserve a statue outside Wrigley Field?

In September, after the new statue of Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams was unveiled at the corner of Addison and Sheffield, Cubs president Crane Kenney said to expect more to be built around the ballpark in coming years.

“I think you are seeing the beginning,” Kenney said. “The statues are popular with our fans, and they certainly are a great way to pay tribute to living players that helped put us on the map. And I think it’s fair to say we will probably continue.

“The (Ricketts) family is very cognizant of the role that Ernie (Banks) and Billy and Ron and Fergie (Jenkins) and everyone played in building this great franchise. Rewarding them with small things like statues is the least that we can do.”

Santo, who was famous for not making the Hall of Fame, already has had his number retired by the Cubs. To be honest, I’ve been torn on whether Santo’s career was worthy of a statute if he didn’t also have a plaque in Cooperstown.

With his passing, I don’t think today by any means is the day to make an emotional decision about erecting a monument recognizing his Cubs career. But, with what Santo meant to the team on the field, in the broadcasters booth and in the hearts of many fans, I wouldn’t have any problem at all if the Cubs decided to eventually build a statue of Santo somewhere outside his favorite ballpark.

They could even dedicate it before a game against the Mets.

And then celebrate it with a victory.

I think Ronnie would like that.

davewisch Wisch: Does Ron Santo Deserve A Wrigley Statue?

Dave Wischnowsky

If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.

  • Nessa Holt

    I definitely think he would like that… I was pretty shocked to hear the news this morning….I always thought we’d have Santos for at least another 5-6 years. He will be missed for sure. I think a statue would be in order….for all that’s he’s meant to the cubs on the field and on the broadcast booth, as well as for his work increasing awareness of juvenile diabetes. Hall of fame be damned. He’s in OUR Hall of Fame.

  • Dave

    As far as the statue goes…enough already, Ron Santo was a great individual player, should be in the Hall by the looks of numbers alone.

    All these statues remind me of as a Cub fan is a lifetime of losing.

  • Tom Vasko

    Ronnie deserves a statue and deserves to be in the hall of fame. Apparently he didn’t make nice to some of the members, namely Joe “it’s all about me” Morgan. Any player putting up Ron’s numbers today could name his price. God bless the Santo family.

  • Kareem

    The Cubs retired Maddux’s jersey – and Santo accomplished a heck of a lot more in a Cubs uniform than Maddux ever did. And he spent 20 years giving us great, great enjoyment from the broadcast booth. He is the CUBS, through and through, period. Put up a statue.

    • KE

      Well said!

  • Lakeview Greg

    I can still hear Ron talking about the day he signed with the Cubs and walking across Clark St. to the old Chevy dealer that used to be there and buying his new car with the three thousand dollars he had in his pocket.

    Build the statue.

  • KE


  • Bill Pearch

    Enough with the statues. http://is.gd/icpUD

  • PWrigleyOG

    Ron Santo was so much more than just another great baseball player, Ron was and will continue to be the heart and soul for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Institute Foundation). Having Ron commemorated in a baseball pose statue at Wrigley Field shadows the bigger accomplishments of his life.

    IMO, Waveland Avenue between Clark and Sheffiled should be renamed Ron Santo Way. Ron was our imperfect “Superman” and his kryptonite was pessimism. Please Mr. Ricketts, Mr. Tunney and Mayor Daley, do the right thing and give us Ron Santo Way!

  • jstcnw

    Statues at Chicago sports arenas are earned by winning a championship. No World Series; no statue.

    • http://tafeurer.wordpress.com Todd Feurer

      Really? I never heard about that rule about Chicago sports statues.

      Well, then someone should tell the Cubs to get rid of the statues of Ernie Banks and Billy Williams and the White Sox to get rid of the statues of Minnie Minoso, Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Carlton Fisk. Hell, even Billy Pierce’s one World Series ring didn’t come with the White Sox.

      Get real. If Harold Baines is worthy of a statue at U.S. Cellular, Santo should have one at Wrigley.

  • jstcnw

    The statues that already exist should not be taken down. Ernie Banks (Mister Cub) and Billy Williams were excellent and are still popular. I assumed that some day the Chicago Cubs would produce a championship team and need room for statues of the people who brought the World Series to Wrigley Field.

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