Santo's Hall of Fame credentials about more than just stats


Santo's Hall of Fame credentials about more than just stats

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- When the Golden Era Committee held their meeting late in 2011, Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams went to bat for his teammate, Ron Santo.

Everybody knew Santo's career numbers, but those were not enough to earn him a place in Cooperstown for the three decades his name was on the ballot. So Williams made a big push to the other 15 members of the Committee and emphasized Santo's incredible work in searching for a cure for diabetes.

Santo played 15 years in the major leagues and silently battled his own diabetes all the while. He kept it a secret throughout his entire playing career and eventually lost both his legs to the disease.

"That was Ron," his wife, Vicki, said at Sunday's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. "He never said, 'why me?' He just moved on to the next challenge. The last few years of his life, he had so many things wrong with him and so many different needs, that every single thing that we take for granted -- taking a shower, making a sandwich -- required a lot of different moving parts.

"But he didn't complain and he did not want sympathy. He believed he'd been chosen to go through these things so that he could deliver a message of perseverance, to inspire those with problems of all kinds.

"And above all, he felt it was his job to try to find a cure for juvenile diabetes."

Santo raised more than 65 million for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) over his lifetime. He spoke with countless diabetic fans and inspired children stricken with the disease.

"He worked so tirelessly for juvenile diabetes," Vicki said. "The thing that people don't really realize is not just was he diabetic and working for the cause, but he took the time with anybody that would come up to him.

"They'd say 'my daughter's been diagnosed.' He would sit down with the daughter, eye-to-eye, and talk to them and say 'you can do anything you want to do.' He'd talk to the parents on how to handle it."

In Santo's memory, Vicki and the foundation hold a charity walk every year in October. This past year, the first event after Ron's death, they raised 4.9 million in one day.

"He believed in his journey and he believed in his cause," Vicki said. "His journey has led him here to Cooperstown and his cause is finding a cure. He fought the good fight and though he is no longer here, we must find the cure.

"Ron always believed in a season in which the Cubs could win. He always believed a game was within reach. He also always believed he would find a cure. We can't let him down.

"Walk for the cure. Run for the cure. Donate to research for the cure. Or just pray for the cure. But find a cure."

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak


Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.