Results tagged ‘ Ron Santo ’

1/14 Cubs Convention schedule

Are you headed to the Cubs Convention this weekend? Here’s the schedule for Saturday and Sunday seminars at the Hilton Chicago:


* The Ricketts Family Forum. Tom, Pete, Laura and Todd Ricketts will answer questions about the Wrigley renovation plans, the state of the team, and the possibility of a Ron Santo statue.

* Meet Cubs Management. It’s your turn to ask GM Jim Hendry and manager Mike Quade questions about player moves. What do they do with all the pitchers? Who will lead off? Greg Maddux was scheduled to attend but he had to cancel because of a family emergency and will not attend the convention.

* Pitching Evolution. New pitching coach Mark Riggins plus Kerry Wood, Andrew Cashner, Randy Wells, Jeff Samardzija, and Sean Marshall will take the podium.

* Future of Cubs Facilities. Team president Crane Kenny and others will discuss Wrigley Field, the Mesa, Ariz., Spring Training project and the Dominican Republic academy.

* For Kids Only. This is always entertaining. Marlon Byrd, Justin Berg, Casey Coleman, Blake DeWitt and Carlos Pena will take questions.

* The “Q Factor:” This will be Quade’s first chance to deal with the fans as the Cubs manager. He’s been prepped this week with questions during the Cubs Caravan.

* Battery Talk: Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill will discuss the relationship with the pitchers along with Carlos Zambrano and Tom Gorzelany.

* On the Road with No. 10: WGN Radio’s Pat Hughes will join Cory Provus, Andy Masur and Judd Sirott to talk about Ron Santo.

* Meet Cubs Business Management: Kenney, marketing chief Wally Hayward and others will discuss plans for Wrigley and beyond.

* Remembering Ronnie: Santo’s former teammates will share stories. Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Jose Cardenal and Milt Pappas are scheduled to attend.

* Dominican Way of Life: Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena and Starlin Castro will discuss baseball in the Dominican Republic.


* The 25 Club: Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney, Scott Maine and James Russell talk about being young Cubs in Chicago.

* Down on the Farm: Player development director Oneri Fleita and scouting director Tim Wilken will discuss the farm system.

— Carrie Muskat

1/12 Cubs radio update

The Cubs and WGN Radio will not announce Ron Santo’s replacement as color analyst at the weekend Cubs Convention. Interviews are currently being conducted and an announcement was expected sometime before Spring Training games begin.

Santo died Dec. 3 at the age of 70. The Cubs will celebrate him during the Convention in a seminar called “Remembering Ronnie,” to be held Saturday at the Hilton Chicago. Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins plus Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Milt Pappas and Jose Cardenal will share some of stories about their teammate.

Who will take over for Santo? It most likely will not be Mark Grace or Rick Sutcliffe, two fan favorites. Grace is currently an analyst for the Diamondbacks and does work for FOX TV, while Sutcliffe signed a new contract with ESPN. The Cubs and WGN Radio are looking for a former Cubs player to do the job, but they want someone who can commit to the full 162-game schedule.

— Carrie Muskat 

1/6 Cubs convention schedule

Want to ask Greg Maddux a question about his job with the Cubs? Maybe you’d like to talk to the Ricketts family? How about hearing Kerry Wood or Andrew Cashner discuss pitching? Or maybe you’d like to reminisce about Ron Santo? Those are some of the seminars scheduled for the 26th Cubs Convention, to be held Jan. 14-16 at the Hilton Chicago.

One of the best sessions may be Jan. 15 when Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins plus Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Milt Pappas and Jose Cardenal share some of their favorite stories in “Remembering Ronnie.” The former Cubs will celebrate Santo, who died Dec. 3 at the age of 70.

The Jan. 15 schedule opens with the “Ricketts Family Forum,” giving Cubs fans a chance to ask ownership about their plans. Maddux, a special assistant to GM Jim Hendry, will join Hendry, assistant GM Randy Bush and manager Mike Quade in a “Meet Cubs Baseball Management” session.

Other seminars include:

* “Pitching Evolution:” Wood, Cashner, Randy Wells, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija and new pitching coach Mark Riggins will explain the art of being a starting pitcher, set-up man and closer, the differences between the roles, and the pressures and rewards that come with each.

* “The Q Factor:” Quade and his coaching staff, including Riggins, Rudy Jaramillo, Lester Strode, Ivan DeJesus, Bob Dernier and Dave Keller, will discuss their techniques and philosophies heading into the 2011 season.

* “The Dominican Way of Life:” Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Carlos Pea and player development director Oneri Fleita will talk about their transition from the Dominican Republic to the United States. Fleita also will discuss how the organization scouts and develops international players to the U.S.

* “Down on the Farm:” Fleita and scouting director Tim Wilken will discuss future Cubs on Jan. 16. They will be preceded by a seminar featuring Tyler Colvin, James Russell, Darwin Barney and Scott Maine, who will talk about making the adjustment from the Minors to the big leagues. Both sessions will be completed in time to watch the Bears’ playoff game.

— Carrie Muskat

12/23 Cubs search for Santo replacement

The Cubs and WGN Radio have begun their search to find a new analyst to partner with  play-by-play man Pat Hughes and fill Ron Santo’s seat in the booth. Santo died Dec. 3. He was 70.

“We wanted to do this as respectfully as we could,” WGN-AM 720 sports director Dave Eanet told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s not something we wanted to plunge right into. But we’re not too far from Spring Training and there is a vacant seat in the booth. Having said that, we know we’re not going to replace Ron Santo.”

The Cubs and WGN will work together in the search. Hughes, who received a five-year extension through the 2015 season on Monday, has been consulted. Eanet said they hope to have a decision in time for the Cubs Convention, Jan. 14-16 at the Hilton Chicago.

The job description on the Tribune Co.’s website says the preferred candidate will have played with the Cubs or have played Major League baseball with previous broadcast experience as a game analyst. Eanet said it’s not a prerequisite that Santo’s replacement be a former Cubs player.

Who would you like to hear on the radio?

— Carrie Muskat

12/20 Hughes gets 5-year extension

WGN Radio announced Monday it has given Cubs play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes a five-year extension through the 2015 season. The 2011 season will be Hughes’ 16th with WGN Radio and the Cubs, and his 29th season of broadcasting in Major League Baseball.

Who will be Hughes’ partner in 2011 has yet to be determined. Ron Santo, who just completed his 21st season as the Cubs’ radio analyst and 15th with Hughes, died on Dec. 3. A replacement was not expected to be named until early next year.

Before joining WGN Radio and the Cubs, Hughes was the radio play-by-play announcer for the Brewers for 12 years. He has been named Illinois Sportscaster of the Year five times and Wisconsin Sportscaster of the year three times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, and he is a finalist for Illinois Sportscaster of the Year again in 2010.

— Carrie Muskat

12/10 Celebrating Santo

It was an impressive turnout Friday at Ron Santo’s funeral at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Among the guests to pay respects to the broadcaster and third baseman were Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams, as well as Glenn Beckert and Randy Hundley. The casket was first escorted up the steps of the church by Cubs traveling secretary Jimmy Bank, WGN Radio engineer Matt Boltz, and some of Santo’s radio partners, including Andy Masur, Cory Provus and Judd Sirott.

“It was our last pregame show together,” said Masur, now a broadcaster with the Padres.

Pat Hughes, who was Santo’s partner for 15 seasons on WGN Radio delivered a tribute as did Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts.

“Ron was the fans’ broadcaster — he was the fan in the booth,” Ricketts said.

Others at the service included Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, and broadcasters Gary Matthews, Thom Brennaman, Len Kasper, and Bob Brenly. Several Cubs players, past and present, were, including Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, Koyie Hill, Tom Gorzelanny, Justin Berg, Ted Lilly, Kevin Orie, Dave Otto and Scott Sanderson. Cubs manager Mike Quade, general manager Jim Hendry and the rest of the team’s front office also were present to pay respects.

“He’s the No. 1 Cubs fan ever,” Hughes said.

Santo got one last look at Wrigley Field as the funeral procession did a lap of the ballpark.

— Carrie Muskat

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

12/4 Riggleman on Santo

Nationals skipper Jim Riggleman once was the “fine manager of the Chicago Cubs.” At least, that’s what Ron Santo would call him at the end of his pregame radio interview.

“The thing you remember is this, he was such a fan — he loved the Cubs,” Riggleman said Sunday about Santo, who passed away Thursday. “That’s the great thing about Billy [Williams], Ernie [Banks] and Ronnie. Sometimes veteran players are bitter about today’s players contracts and this and that, but they were all about Cubs. ‘We’ve got to get it right here, we’ve got to win.’ Ronnie was really excited about the team. It was a shock to me that [he died]. I loved my time with him and feel fortunate that I got to know him. He was a legend. He treated me like a friend — there was no talking down to you or anything like that because you didn’t play in the big leagues. He treated you with great respect, and I really thought a lot about him.”

Riggleman was the Cubs manager in 1998 when the team was challenging for the Wild Card and outfielder Brant Brown dropped a fly ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth against the Brewers. Santo groaned “Oh, no” — an audio tape worth listening to.

“[Santo] was the first one to console Brant Brown on the [team] plane,” Riggleman said. “He said, ‘Sorry, kid.’ He understood the magnitude of that play. I think Ronnie was like all of us feeling for Brant. We didn’t want that to hang over us.

“[Santo] loves the Cubs, he was passionate about the Cubs. For him, the glass was always half full.”

— Carrie Muskat

12/4 Funeral arrangements for Santo

There will be a public visitation for Ron Santo on Thursday at 4 p.m. CT at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street, Chicago. Santo died of complications from bladder cancer. He was 70. The funeral will be held Friday at 10 a.m. CT, and there will be limited public seating available. In lieu of flowers, the Santo family asks that you make donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

— Carrie Muskat

12/3 Sad news travels fast

Billy Williams was awakened Friday morning by a phone call with the news. His teammate and friend for more than 50 years, Ron Santo, was gone.

“I thought he was going to live forever after all the tragedies and stuff he’s gone through,” Williams said. “It’s hard to believe that all of a sudden you get a call this morning, a guy you’ve known for so long has passed away.

“In baseball, there’s so many ups and downs,” he said. “Man, it was sad to hear that.”

Santo, who was in Arizona, lapsed into a coma Wednesday, and died of complications from bladder cancer. He was 70.

Sitting on a white chaise near the pool at the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus on the last day of a Cubs’ fan trip to the Dominican Republic, Williams reflected.

“This was really not a teammate,” Williams said. “He’s a friend — it’s like losing a family member. When I lost my brother, it’s the same reaction. We became friends in 1959 and through those years, going back and forth to the ballpark, sitting on the bench, talking about the Cubs. It’s just a sad day for the Cubs fans and baseball.

“People who listened to Ronnie and Pat [Hughes on WGN Radio], they’re going to miss that,” he said. “[Santo] kept a lot of people laughing through his radio analysis. He and Pat were there everyday at 1:20 [p.m. when the games started at Wrigley] listening to the game. When you listened to them, you didn’t have to know the score. If he’s in that mode [when he moans], you know we’re losing.”

The Cubs fans on the trip also were shook by the news. They’d lost their voice.

“It’s a crying shame he didn’t live to see himself in the Hall [of Fame] or the Cubs in a World Series,” said Don Parker of Warsaw, Ind. “It’s a bigger loss than most Cubs fans realize.

“The ’69 team was my favorite,” Parker said. “Santo was great not only because of what he did for the Cubs as a player and a broadcaster but what he’s done for the [Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation]. He’s a special dude.”

— Carrie Muskat