Anyway, I was of the age where Santo was a Big Deal from my youth, and a familiar piece of my on-going Cubs rooting. His death was a pretty big deal in town here too, and so I was happy to get the book penned by his broadcast partner Pat Hughes, and sports author Rich Wolfe. I really didn't have any expectations about the book, and was somewhat surprised to find that it was largely a collection of reminiscences from many who knew Santo, but that makes sense as this was published a scant six months after his death, so it wasn't a long-term production or in-depth biography.
The book is split into thematic chapters, covering various aspects of his life, starting with a foreword by his namesake son, and then the longest section by Pat Hughes. Chapters cover his family, his youth in Seattle, baseball, Chicago, broadcasting, and a general “Santopalooza”, with 33 people talking about him. From family members and childhood friends, to the Commissioner of baseball to a half-dozen broadcasters, the tone is something akin to a gentle “roast” … with Santo's quirks and foibles (his toupee rates its own chapter!) being lovingly aired, along with personal stuff that, but for this format, might not ever have reached the general public.
I suspect that this is as well-rounded look at the man thanks to the groundwork laid by his son Jeff's 2004 documentary This Old Cub, which provided an existing biographical context for the authors to reach out to get interviews. They mention that there were almost twice as many people interviewed for this than made it in, and that extra material would likely end up in the third volume of Wolfe's For Cub Fans Only.
There's a 25-page section of color photos which seem to be based on (or at least includes) the memorial piece done for Santo's funeral. This section includes some classic images from he 60's, and was a great “trip down memory lane” for me.
One thing that was interesting in the format of the book, is that there are numerous all-caps, bolded, and underlined people and places through the text that have footnotes highlighting “interesting facts” that are, oddly, not directly related to Santo. I don't know if these are a hallmark of Wolfe's other books, or what, but they seemed a bit out of place (not that they aren't individually quite amusing) in a memorial book like this. Just sayin'.
Ron Santo: A Perfect 10 is still in print, and the on-line big boys have it at 60% off of cover (the copies that were at Walgreens were at a discount as well, even before being on clearance). I'm surprised, after having been on clearance, that this isn't going for less via the “new/used” vendors, but at least at the moment, there's not a big discount there beyond what's being offered by Amazon. If you're a Chicagoan, a Cubs fan, or even just a baseball fan, you should look into getting a copy of this … it's a bit sad, but it's a feel-good look at one of the greats.