MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Ron Santo’s family and Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams helped the Chicago Cubs pay tribute to their beloved former broadcaster before a 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.
The team unveiled a plaque dedicated to Santo during the pregame ceremony. It sits right below his spot in the press box and says: “From this booth, Cubs legend Ron Santo signed thousands of autographs for Cubs fans from around the world.”
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Santo died on Dec. 3 at the age of 70 from complications of bladder cancer. A nine-time All-Star in his 15-year career, Santo hit .277 with 2,254 hits, 342 homers and 1,331 RBIs. He had finished his 21st season broadcasting his former team in September.
The pregame ceremony before 7,186 fans at HoHoKam Stadium also included members of team chairman Tom Ricketts’ family, Mesa mayor Scott Smith and Santo’s son, Jeff.
“There’s mixed emotions,” Jeff Santo said. “We hurt for our dad and at the same time, we’re honoring him. We live on for many generations and it’s an honor to us, but it also gets overwhelming, too, because we miss him so much.”
Brett Jackson hit a two-out RBI single in the ninth to win the game for the Cubs, who also got solid pitching performances from Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner.
Wells tossed four innings of one-hit ball, with two strikeouts and one walk. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in nine spring innings.
“I’m pleased,” said Wells, vying for a spot in the rotation. “You set goals for yourself, you want to come in and want to impress obviously, but you also want to get your work in and work on stuff you need to work on and I’ve been doing that on the side and it’s been carrying into games.”
Cashner also pitched four innings, holding the Indians to Jayson Nix’s homer in the sixth inning. He allowed three hits and could be a starter or reliever with Chicago.
Cleveland right-hander Justin Masterson also had a nice day, striking out five in three perfect innings.
“It’s about making some adjustments and building off that,” he said. “It wasn’t always perfect, but we were ahead in counts and it produced some bad swings. This (outing) was smoother than the one before and that was smoother than the one before.”
NOTES: The Cubs wore No. 10 hats in pregame workouts and there was a painted No. 10 behind home plate. Fans received a No. 10 sticker and a baseball card with a black and white photo of Santo at Rendezvous Park in Mesa from spring training 1965. … Cubs RF Kosuke Fukudome went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts to drop his average to .217 and second baseman Blake DeWitt is at .182 after a 0-for-2 effort. … Nix’s home run pushed his average to .105.