12/6 Ryno on Ron Santo

Ryne Sandberg was at baseball’s Winter Meetings Monday to not only meet with his staff members with his new team, the Phillies, but also attend a Hall of Fame news conference. He was part of the Hall’s Expansion Era committee, which elected Pat Gillick into Cooperstown on Monday. Who knows? Maybe they’ll consider Ron Santo next year.

“He was a fixture at Wrigley Field during my whole career and a fixture in my life as far as being there in Spring Training and being there every season I played,” Sandberg said of Santo, who passed away last Thursday. “It was a very sad day for myself just thinking about what he meant not only to the organization but myself and my family.”

Sandberg said he’ll miss having Santo to talk to.

“We always had a lot to talk about,” Sandberg said. “He called me ‘big boy’ all the time because he didn’t remember my name. He called everybody that. He was one who could get away with that. I returned the favor and called him ‘big boy.'”

Will he be hard to replace?

“He’s really established himself as a fan favorite and the voice of the fans,” Sandberg said. “It’s similar to when Harry Caray left. It’ll be hard to replace Ron Santo — I don’t think you can replace him. He wasn’t your typical radio announcer but everybody knew what he meant and how he felt, even if he didn’t get the facts right or the names right, everyone knew what he meant and how emotional he was about the game. That came across loud and clear on the radio.”

– Carrie Muskat

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