It is with a heavy heart that the Cubs announced today the death of famed player and announcer Ron Santo.

The iconic third baseman played for the Chicago Cubs for thirteen of his fourteen MLB seasons (1960-1973), during which time he was a nine time All-Star selection, a five time Golden Glove winner and the recipient of the 1973 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award.

Ron Santo also had his number, No. 10, retired in September of 2003.

While his numbers (.277 batting average, 342 home runs and 1,331 RBIs) are quite impressive, especially for a third baseman, this isn’t quite what he is best known for.

Ron Santo accomplished everything he did while dealing with Type I diabetes. Not only does this make his accomplishments on the field extremely impressive, but it means that he has left a permanent mark on professional athletics as being one of the few athletes in history to play through a physically debilitating disease like diabetes.

Without Ron Santo, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that the Chicago Bears would be without a quarterback. In 2008, Jay Cutler announced that he had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes, the same disease Santo suffered from. However, Cutler has played through the medical condition admirably, as he has led the Chicago Bears to a very impressive season so far this year.

Another great example would be David Garrard. While Garrard does not suffer from diabetes, he is held back by Crohn’s disease, a painful intestinal issue.

Players like Cutler and Garrard owe their careers to Santo, a man who proved that a player is not always limited by physical issues.

Ron Santo will be sorely missed by the family, friends, the Cubs organization and fans around the world for his contribution to the Cubs, as well as for his contribution to professional athletics at large.

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