The Cubs on Wednesday unveiled the statue of former third baseman and longtime broadcaster Ron Santo, who passed away last Dec. 3 at age 70.
The statue, which features a blue cap and stirrups, depicts Santo, a nine-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover with the Cubs, throwing to first after handling a grounder.
Santo played from the Cubs from 1960-74 and was in the team’s radio booth from 1990 until his passing. He ranks fourth in franchise history with 337 homers. WAR rates him as the No. 2 Cub all-time behind Cap Anson and ahead of Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams.
Santo, though, is not yet in the Hall of Fame after being passed over by both the BBWAA and the Veterans Committee.
Santo joins Banks, Williams and Harry Caray in having statues outside Wrigley. Banks and Williams were among those in attendence for today’s ceremony.
“He was a remarkable person,” Banks said. “Ron Santo did not have an enemy. He loved everybody.”
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.