CHICAGO, January 9, 2009 — In a serious and fun effort to unite Chicago Cubs fans everywhere and promote the idea of erecting a statue outside of Wrigley Field of former Chicago Cubs third baseman and current Cubs radio broadcaster, Ron Santo, WGN Radio host Garry Meier today announced he’s launching an on-line petition campaign entitled “Get Ron Bronzed!”
To show their support for a Ron Santo statue at Wrigley Field, fans can go to www.wgnradio.com and click on the “Get Ron Bronzed!” section, which includes a letter from Meier to Chicago Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney and a petition fans can fill out. To further convince Cubs management, fans also can add their own personal thoughts as to why they believe Santo deserves the honor.
Meier, a popular Chicago radio personality, recently joined WGN-AM 720 in Chicago as the station’s 1 – 4 p.m. midday host. A popular segment on Meier’s midday show is an impersonation of Santo by “Elton Jim” Turano, a daily contributor to the show. In March, Santo appeared on Meier’s show, heard the impersonation, and enthusiastically endorsed the light-hearted and reverential parody of Santo’s “unique” broadcasting style and phrases and his engaging personality, which have all made him one of the most popular broadcasters in Cubs history.
Santo, a nine-time all-star Cubs third baseman from 1960-1973, whose uniform number 10 was retired by the Cubs in 2003, and his partner Pat Hughes, are entering their 14th season together broadcasting Chicago Cubs baseball games on WGN Radio.
According to Meier, his listeners’ immediate and largely positive reaction to the Santo impersonation and segment, and the devotion they routinely express toward Santo, helped inspire the idea of a Ron Santo statue and putting together an organized effort to make it happen.
“Ron Santo is Cubs royalty, as a great player, a popular broadcaster and passionate fan. You can hear it on the radio, the guy lives and dies with every pitch and every game,” Meier said. “He’s become synonymous with the Cubs, and on a larger scale, he’s become a Chicago icon. Harry Caray, Irv Kupcinet, Jack Brickhouse, Ernie Banks, and even Bob Newhart have statues in Chicago. It’s time for Ronnie. Having a statue at Wrigley is the Cubs’ ultimate honor, and I think Ronnie deserves it because he’s the ultimate Cubs fan.”
“I haven’t discussed this idea with Ron, so I’m not sure what he thinks of it. But by the reaction I get on my radio show, I know his fans think it’s a no-brainer. After all, Wrigley Field is known as ‘The Vatican of baseball parks,’ and look at how many statues the Vatican has!” Meier said.
WGN Radio Program Director Kevin Metheny says the “Get Ron Bronzed!” campaign can inject some added excitement to the 2009 season, which fans are looking forward to with heightened anticipation.
“The ultimate goal would be to unveil a Ron Santo statue, or at least make the official announcement of a statue, on the day of the first game of the 2009 Chicago Cubs World Series in October. Either way, a Ron Santo statue at Wrigley Field is a winner for everyone – the fans, the team, and for Ron. He is one of WGN Radio’s most popular and cherished personalities, and we urge all our listeners and all Ron Santo fans everywhere to visit our website, sign the petition, and help us to make this overdue honor a reality,” Metheny said.