This Old Cub

DVD Released (Y/M/D): 2005-08-02

Genre: Documentary

Director: Jeff Santo

Stars: Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Joe Mantegna, Dennis Franz, Pat Hughes, Gary Sinise

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Synopsis: There's plenty of fight left in This Old Cub... that's the story of a new documentary feature about former All-Star third baseman, broadcaster and Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo and his lifelong battle with diabetes. Santo was the first and only major league position player to play professional baseball with Type One Juvenile Diabetes (insulin dependent). He played most of his career without revealing his disease for fear that he would be forced to retire from baseball. At a time when much less was known about how to regulate insulin levels, Santo rarely missed a game - taking injections and chocolate bars based on how he felt from moment to moment. The film was shot over a span of nine months, as Santo was recovering from having his second leg amputated due to complications from the disease he has been fighting for more than forty-five years. It documents Santo's rehab and recovery from a devastating operation to his return to WGN Radio as broadcaster for the Cubs. This film also goes back in time to tell the story of Santo's fabled career as a nine-time All-Star third baseman and five time Gold Glove winner, and the incredible story of the 1969 season, when the "miracle Mets" came from nowhere to swipe the pennant from a Cubs team that is commonly thought of as one of the great teams of all time. Santos teammates from that time, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ferguson Jenkins are all in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but despite being considered one of the greatest third baseman in history, Santo is not. The film documents Santo's continuing quest to be similarly acknowledged. Famous Chicagoans who participated in the film include Joe Mantegna (who narrates the film) Bill Murray, Brian Doyle Murray, Joel Murray, Dennis Farina, Gary Sinise, Dennis Franz and William Petersen. Such baseball luminaries as Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Brooks Robinson, Joe Morgan, Willie McCovey, Johnny Bench, Tommy La Sorda and Willie Mays give their views of the man himself. Also appearing are renowned baseball analysts including ESPN's Chris Berman and Peter Gammons, Milwaukee's Bob Uecker, and Santo's colleagues and friends at WGN, Steve Stone, Chip Carey and Pat Hughes. Most importantly, This Old Cub captures the spirit of Ron Santo, a player who clicked his heals after every win, perfectly reflecting a time when players like Santo played for the love of the game - not for financial reward. Despite being denied entry to the Hall of Fame, and losing two legs to diabetes, this is a man who handles everything with grace, humor and not an ounce of bitterness. Santo is the ultimate optimist and therefore the ultimate Cub. He epitomizes what a Cub is all about... a diehard fan... wait until next year. The film ends on the last day of the baseball season in 2003. The day before, the Cubs had clinched their division for the first time since 1989. But on this day, at an emotional ceremony at Wrigley Field, Santo joined his teammates Ernie Banks and Billy Williams as the only Cubs in history to have their numbers retired. The project got off the ground thanks in large part to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which provided a generous grant toward the production. Santo has been one of the most successful fundraisers for the organization throughout his life, and a portion of all revenues earned by the film will be donated to the JDRF.   Source: Emerging Pictures

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