Seattles native and Franklin High graduate Ron Santo, who died last Friday from complications of bladder cancer, is among the greatest baseball players the Pacific Northwest has ever produced, ranking right up there with Earl Averill, Ryne Sandberg and John Olerud.
When the all-time Northwest team was compiled for the Seattle’s National SABR convention publication “Rain Check” in 2006, Santo was named the first-team third baseman, hands down (no disrespect to Ron Cey).
He was an Italian kid from Rainier Valley’s “garlic gulch”, and cut his teeth as an All City player at Franklin High. He also worked in the press box and concessions at Sicks’ Stadium as a teen, surely soaking up lessons from high caliber PCL baseball.
He maintained very close ties to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest throughout his life.
Santo was a nine-time National League All Star in a 15-year major league career, and clearly the best all-around National League third baseman of his era. It is a shame and a puzzle that he didn’t live to see himself inducted in Cooperstown. In the view of many, myself included, he’s clearly a Hall of Famer.