BY David Eskenazi 05:18PM 12/07/2010

Wayback Machine: Franklin High graduate Ron Santo

Reflections on the career of Franklin High graduate Ron Santo in today’s photo/essay.

Before embarking upon a 15-year major league career in Chicago, Franklin graduate Ron Santo worked for the Seattle Rainiers as a batboy, groundskeeper, press box attendant and concessionaire / David Eskenazi Collection

By David Eskenazi

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).

Long-time Seattle scout Dave Kosher (left), pictured here with Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, signed Santo to his first contract / David Eskenazi Collection

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.

Sports historian Dave Eskenazi can be reached at (206) 441-1900, or at seattlesportshistory@gmail.com.


YourThoughts

  • Ted Machnik, Chicago

    Dave:

    Absolutely correct. Ron Santo should have been in the Hall of Fame years ago. I guess he wasn’t a favorite of some influential New York writers. He did a lot for Chicago Cubs’ baseball, but he did more for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Ron will be missed.

  • David Eskenazi

    Amen to that, Ted…and if you compare Santo to the third baseman that are enshrined, it becomes even clearer that he should join them in Cooperstown.

  • uncle jack

    garlic gulch was just down pike from kosher canyon any garfield greats?

  • James Tanev

    I am taking an accounting class and my instructor inquired about the vintage Cubs that I was wearing. She then shared the Mr. Santo was her beloved cousin and we had a great conversation while the rest of the class had no idea what or who we were talking about.

    Damn straight. Put him in the HOF. It was nice that the M’s recognized Mr. Santo during the home opener prior to the Niehaus festivities.

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  • LEN TRAN JR

    good writing about ron santo he was a favorite of mine,glad he in the hall of fame,long overdue.

  • LEN TRAN JR

    good writing about ron santo he was a favorite of mine,glad he in the hall of fame,long overdue.