Skip to main content
Original Issue

Under Review

As the Chicago Cubs' third baseman from 1960 to '73, Ron Santo had stellar stats: He batted .300 four times; he hit 342 home runs (30 or more four years in a row); he won five Gold Gloves and made nine All-Star teams. Fans loved him. He clicked his heels after every win. "He looked like us, he represented the Chicago mentality, the Chicago people," says actor Dennis Franz in This Old Cub, an affectionate tribute to the ballplayer (directed by Santo's son Jeff and narrated by Joe Mantegna) that was recently released on DVD. "This was a blue-collar baseball player." Few knew that Santo was also a type 1 diabetic who stashed insulin and chocolate bars in his locker. When his illness was diagnosed at 18, he read that the average life expectancy for those with his form of the disease was 25. Today, at 64, Santo--who is considered by many to be the best eligible player not enshrined in the Hall of Fame--has had both legs amputated below the knee. But he's helped raise over $50 million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and he works as a commentator for the Cubs on WGN. "I want to be there when they do win," he says of the team that has been without a world championship for 10 years longer than the Red Sox. "And I'm gonna be." --Nancy Ramsey