Heel clicking: While running to the clubhouse after a thrilling walk-off win at Wrigley Field in June 1969, Santo spontaneously jumped in the air and clicked his heels together a few times. Manager Leo Durocher told Santo to "make that our victory kick," starting a tradition that made Cubs fans roar while infuriating the competition.
Loathing New York: Santo's criticism of outfielder Don Young after the rookie dropped a fly ball in Shea Stadium during the heat of the 1969 pennant race was one of several bad memories Santo had of New York. (Years later, Young told writer Rick Talley that Santo was "always the first to speak up for me.") The black cat episode also happened at Shea in '69, the season of the great Cubs collapse. Santo received death threats in New York in 1970 and jokingly requested to "blow up" Shea in '07.
Headstrong: Santo was hit in the face with a fastball by Mets pitcher Jack Fisher on June 26, 1966, leading to his left eye being swollen shut, along with a fractured left cheek. No problem. A week later, wearing a specially designed helmet, Santo returned to action and homered in his first game back.
Battling Leo: During a clear-the-air meeting in the Cubs clubhouse in 1971, an enraged Santo began to choke Durocher for claiming the third baseman had demanded that the organization hold a day in his honor. "Maybe I shouldn't have gotten into it with him," Santo wrote in his autobiography. "But my Italian blood was starting to rise." Santo later went to Durocher's office and talked him out of quitting.
Gold gloving: Santo earned five Gold Gloves in his career, earning the reputation as one of the best fielding third baseman of his era. But when the Cubs planned a ceremony in 1966 to present Santo with his '65 Gold Glove, they had to cancel it after the award arrived in three pieces.
Santo clause: After the '73 season, the Cubs were breaking up the team and tried to trade Santo to the California Angels. But Santo became the first player to exercise a new clause in the collective bargaining agreement giving veterans with enough years the right to veto any trades. Santo eventually accepted a trade to the White Sox, where he signed a two-year deal before ending his career after one disappointing season.
Walking the walk: Santo was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in 1959 but kept it a secret from the Cubs until '63, fearing it would hurt his career. After retiring, Santo raised $40,000 in his first " Ron Santo Walk for the Cure" in Chicago in 1979, and continued to raise millions for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the next few decades.
Oh no! With the Cubs in a heated wild-card race during the final week of the 1998 season, outfielder Brant Brown dropped a fly ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, allowing three runs to score in a heartbreaking loss to the Brewers at County Stadium. Santo's groan — "Oh no!" — has gone down as one of the most famous phrases in Cubs history.
Bad hair day: Santo's toupee was singed while on-the-air during a Cubs-Mets game at Shea Stadium in April 2003. He was standing under an overhead heating lamp when Pat Hughes smelled his toupee burning and threw water on it. At first Santo tried to part his hair with an old comb given to him by Hughes but wound up spiking his hair like a punk rocker.
Fame game: While Santo was denied entrance into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2003, the Cubs retired his No. 10 that September in a ceremony at Wrigley Field. "This is my Hall of Fame," an emotional Santo told the crowd. He never made it to Cooperstown while alive.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times