I’m feeling pretty blue today. Even though it’s Friday – and I’ll get to enjoy a free steak dinner and a comedy show, courtesy of my boyfriend's company holiday party - I awoke to the news that Ron Santo, the legendary Cubs player and broadcaster, passed away. The 70-year-old North Side icon died of complications from bladder cancer. Trust me when I say that hearts all over the Chicago area are breaking today. As Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts explained, "Ronnie will forever be the heart and soul of Cubs fans."
For those unfamiliar with his work, Santo was a star third baseman and part of the 1960s Cubs teams featuring Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins. He earned National League Gold Glove awards five straight seasons and was a nine-time NL All-Star. He later became a passionate and heartfelt broadcaster who couldn't help cheering his team from the radio booth for two decades. Much like another beloved Cubbies icon, Harry Caray, Santo butchered names and sometimes lost track of what was going on in the game while serving as a color commentator. But he was beloved by the Cubs Nation because he epitomized the long-suffering fan: he made no apologies for his on-air cheerleading or his utter frustration over a bad play.
Unfortunately, Santo never witnessed his favorite team going to the World Series - or his longtime goal of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame despite career numbers that place him among baseball's all-time great third basemen. He was up for the Hall of Fame on 19 occasions, and first appeared on the Veterans Committee ballot in 2003, only to fall short each time. His number, which was retired by the Cubs several years ago, now flies on the foul pole at Wrigley Field.
Ron, you’ll always be a Hall of Famer in my book. RIP and hope you're kicking back right now, sharing a beer with Harry Caray.
Okay, I know this is primarily a food and health blog. So for anyone looking for some low-calorie dessert recipes - which is always a popular request this time of year - here are two sugar-free pie recipes...an ideal sweet treat since today is National Apple Pie Day.
Nostalgic Apple Pie
Cranberry Walnut Apple Pie