Published late Christmas Eve, this inspiring story on Ron Santo’s passing from the Arlington Heights Daily Herald flew largely under the radar during the holiday weekend.
Let’s bring it back to light.
The obituaries will tell you that the Cubs legend passed away on December 2, but Santo’s immediate family knows the real truth.
At 8:30 p.m. on December 2, a Thursday night, the Santo kids said goodbye to their father and doctors pulled the 70-year-old off life support.
But he refused to give up his battle against bladder cancer and beat the odds into early Friday morning.
“They said he could not breathe without the machine,” Jeff Santo told the Herald. “Not only was he breathing but his blood pressure was perfect.
“We were like, ‘What’s going on here?’
“I kept saying to the doctor, ‘The brain tells the body to breathe. The brain isn’t working. So how is this happening? What’s making him breathe?’
“It was very draining. Vicki would say, ‘Ron, it’s OK. You can go.’ We’d say, ‘Dad, it’s time. Let go. You can rest now.’
“My sister Linda had been through a lot and my dad and her had such a strong bond. But she was drained. We had to get her out of the room.
“After about three hours, Vicki and I talked about it, and she was right. He wouldn’t want us staying there staring at him.
“He’d say, ‘Get the heck out of here.’ So we all agreed that it was time to go. We said our goodbyes at 12:30 Friday morning.”
Ron Santo died at 12:40 a.m., Friday, December 3, just 10 minutes after his wife and children left his bedside. He was a fighter, an inspiration and a man of pride from start to finish.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has wasted no time acclimating himself to major league competition. Since getting called back up on August 3, Sanchez has smacked nine homers and driven in 16 runs in a span of 18 games. In fact, since August 3, no hitter has homered more than Sanchez and only Charlie Blackmon and Brian Dozier have matched him, Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues notes.
One of those homers came in Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Mariners at Safeco Field. It was a first-inning blast off of Hisashi Iwakuma, quickly giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. They would go on to win 5-0. Sanchez finished 2-for-3 with a pair of intentional walks, a double, and the homer.
Some more fun facts about Sanchez, courtesy Sharp:
- Sanchez is the first Yankee in club history with nine home runs in his first 21 career games [Link]
- Sanchez is the third American League player in the last 100 years to hit at least nine home runs in his first 21 career games, joining George Scott and Alvin Davis [Link]
- Sanchez and Joe DiMaggio are the only Yankees with 15 or more extra-base hits in their first 21 career games [Link]
Sanchez was considered the fifth-best prospect in the Yankees’ minor league system, according to MLB Pipeline. In the majors, he’s carrying a .389/.450/.847 triple-slash line in 79 plate appearances. He has also thrown out five of seven would-be base-stealers.
American swimmer Katie Ledecky, fresh off of winning four gold medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Nationals’ game against the Orioles.
As NHL.com’s Katie Brown notes, Ledecky’s favorite player is Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who was on the field with her. So what did she make him do? Hold all of her medals while she threw out the first pitch.
Harper has his fair share of hardware, including a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP Award, but no gold medals. For shame.