I was very saddened to hear about the passing of former Chicago Cubs third baseman/broadcaster Ron Santo–who died recently from complications of bladder cancer at the age of 70. Santo was a man whose loyalty to the Chicago organization was still very apparent long after his playing days were over; and yes, he is definitely worthy of Hall of Fame induction. I talked to his former teammate Carmen Fanzone–who offered these words the day after Santo’s death: “I’m just proud to have been a teammate of such a great man. He had a wonderful career, and I can only imagine the kind of pain he was in before his passing. It’s a very sad time for me.” Yes, Mr. Santo will be missed greatly by the entire baseball community–whether you are a Cubs fan or not; thanks for the memories, Ron………TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1993 Washington Redskins–who finished 4-12 under coach Richie Petitbon–were led in rushing by a back who played a total of just 40 NFL games. Can you name this individual? Answer to follow……….My “Monday Night Sports Talk” co-host Tony DeAngelo recently put into perspective what kind of pitiful shape this country is in by using a baseball reference. Seeing that about 20,000,000 individuals are unemployed at this juncture (a conservative estimate), Tony pointed out that this amount of people would fill the equivalent of 400 Yankee Stadiums at FULL capacity. Wow……….This week in sports history, December 14, 1988: Following 17 consecutive losses, the expansion Miami Heat win their first game ever–defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 89-88 in a game played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. A jump shot by the Clippers’ Ken Norman fell short with just two seconds remaining–giving the Heat this historic victory. Miami was led in scoring by Pat Cummings, Grant Long, and Billy Thompson–with each of them tallying 15 points. The 17 losses to begin a season was an NBA record–although the Cleveland Cavaliers (during the 1980’s) and Philadelphia 76ers (70’s) had lost more consecutive games in the past……….Shame on Glastonbury (CT) High School due to the continued, horrific media accommodations there; I was present at the recent Staples/Glastonbury quarter-final football game. First of all, although it’s fairly new, the press box is TINY–with seating for approximately 5-6 people (you read that correctly–even at a PLAYOFF game, folks). Second, there is a partition in the middle of the box–making it impossible to see both end zones and the scoreboard if you’re lucky to even HAVE a seat. Finally, when the wall heater is turned on, the place (due to its miniscule size) turns RIDICULOUSLY warm; my colleague Tom Yantz of the Hartford Courant called it “an oven”. Question: Do you think the person/people who designed this box may have flunked out of engineering school?……….Answer to trivia question: REGGIE BROOKS–who rushed for 1,063 yards (which was more than half of his career total of 1,726)……….ITEM: The Cincinnati Bearcat mascot is cited for disorderly conduct after a snowball-throwing incident last Saturday afternoon during a game vs. Pittsburgh; the mascot was told to stop throwing snowballs in the stands and then proceeded to push a security guard. Doing some research on bearcats, I found out that they CAN be vicious–but are also nocturnal. If that’s the case, WHY was that bearcat even AWAKE around 2:00 that afternoon?……….I’ll go out on a limb and say that Derek Jeter will NOT follow the same path of former NBA-er Latrell Sprewell–and WILL be able to live on the $15-20 million per year that he’ll now be earning……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Jon Perlman–who blows out 54 candles on December 13th. Perlman has the distinction of having played for three different teams in his three big league seasons; he pitched for the Cubs, Giants, and Indians between 1985 and 1988. Perhaps the reason he isn’t familiar to most fans out there is that he appeared in a career total of just 26 games–all in relief. In 39 2/3 career innings, Perlman walked 23 batters and gave up 28 earned runs–rendering him with a lifetime ERA of 6.35. Not pretty, I understand, but he can always tell his grandchildren that he was a teammate of Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley and Ryne Sandberg while in Chicago, right? Best wishes, Jon……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major leaguer Gil McDougald–who passed away recently in New Jersey of cancer at the age of 82. A native of San Francisco, Gil was the AL’s Rookie of the Year in 1951 while playing for the Yankees–a team he spent his entire career with from 1951-1960. A member of five world championship teams, he was a five-time All-Star while being a very versatile infielder–having seen playing time at second base, shortstop, and third base. McDougald later coached baseball at my alma mater–Fordham University–from 1970-1976; he recorded two 20-win seasons and five winning seasons during his seven-year tenure there. He is survived by his wife, Lucille, seven children, and 14 grandchildren; may Gil McDougald rest in peace.