The thing that I think I appreciate most about Santo becomes crystal clear when you see and hear the stories people are telling about Ron today, is that he was genuine. He was who he was and that was so refreshing that you didn't care as much that he was moaning and groaning in the background before the first inning had ended.
I never met Ron Santo, but the number of stories that have always been told (and repeated today) painted the picture of a man who loved people, who loved the Cubs and baseball, and enjoyed life. The stories about Ron when the microphones and cameras were off described a mirror image of the biggest Cub fan rooting on the team next to Pat Hughes.
But as I have listened to the outpouring of memories by just about anybody that ever worked with him at WGN, I have realized that Ron would not want us to be depressed. Whenever someone expressed pity towards Ron's struggles with health, he quickly reminded them how great his life was and that his issues were just some inconvenient bumps in the road.
He didn't dwell on losing limbs to diabetes or his bouts with bladder cancer. He dwelled on his love of the Cubs and being in the ballpark and interacting with the fans of the team he loved.
Despite knowing in our hearts that Ron's health problems would probably claim him too soon, it is hard to believe he is gone. But I'm convinced he wouldn't want us to dwell on the loss, but rather celebrate his life and realize that our lives were a little better because we got to watch Ron play or listen to him yell in delight or agony (mostly the latter) as he broadcasted the Cubs.
Farewell, Ronnie. We will miss you, but we will be happy to know you have probably already requested an audience with God to discuss a miracle or two for your beloved Cubs.
More memories of Ron from the blogosphere: