Ron Santo and Kerry Wood’s 20-K game
The celebration of the life of Ron Santo has been wall to wall on WGN radio. It’s been really great to hear all the stories (some for the first time) and to hear tons of audio replays from the Pat & Ron Show (aka Cubs baseball radio broadcasts). Today WGN replayed the Kerry Wood 20-strikeout game from May 6, 1998. Pat sounded exactly as he does today, and Ron was pretty much Ronnie but perhaps a little sharper than the last few years. Actor Joe Mantegna was in town plugging a revival of his Bleacher Bums play and sat in the broadcast for several innings, right through the end.
The game featured a young Kerry Wood in the pinnacle performance of his young career. Complete game shutout, one-hitter, no walks, and an NL & Cubs franchise recordÂ 20 strikeouts. It was a masterpiece that promising “kid-K” would never again match. I must say while I was mourning the loss of Ron Santo, this gameÂ made me feel again the disappointment of the potential of Kerry Wood and later Mark Prior. So promising,Â glimpses of once in a generation greatness, but ultimately crushing disappointment.Â
The re-broadcast was a fitting tribute to Santo (among the many) but I have to say it was also great to hear Cubs baseball on the radio on the day of Chicago’s first snow fall of winter 2010-11. Cubs radio broadcasts will be very different starting next year with ol’ Number Ten not part of the mix.Â Whoever the next radio color analyst will be for WGN, he will have some big shoes to fill from a personality standpoint. Ron Santo was larger than life – a beloved fixture in Cubs loreÂ and as Pat Hughes was quoted as saying, “The Cubs just lost their biggest fan.”