Ronald Edward Santo(February 25, 1940 – December 3, 2010) was an American professional baseball player, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and long-time radio sports commentator. He played in Major League Baseball from 1960 to 1974, most notably as the third baseman for the Chicago Cubs. A nine-time All-Star, he was a powerful hitter who was also a good defensive player, winning five Gold Glove Awards. Despite suffering from diabetes, he carefully concealed the condition for most of his career. The disease eventually necessitated the amputation of the lower half of both legs. Santo became the first player in major league history to wear a batting helmet with protective ear flaps, when in 1966, in the midst of trying to break the Cubs’ modern consecutive-game hitting streak record of 27 games (set by Hack Wilson in 1929), Santo was sidelined for nearly two weeks following a pitch thrown by the Mets’ Jack Fisher (beaning) that fractured his cheekbone and ended his consecutive playing streak. When he returned (and broke the hitting record with a 28-game streak) he was wearing an improvised ear flap on his batting helmet in order to protect the injury; ear flaps have since become standard equipment on batting helmets.
Ron Santo – 1973 Topps #115