An unassuming Seattle-ite who stuck with his first pro team until retirement, Ron Santo was a stellar third baseman in 14 seasons that still warm the hearts of every Chicago Cubs fan. "This Old Cub" is more a slavish tribute than objective portrait. Self-distribbing to a few hardtops nationwide, pic will fare better on the small screen.

An unassuming Seattle-ite who stuck with his first pro team until retirement, Ron Santo was a stellar third baseman in 14 seasons that still warm the hearts of every Chicago Cubs fan. As one might expect of a docu about a still-living subject directed by his son, Jeff Santo, “This Old Cub” is more a slavish tribute than objective portrait. As a result, competent but innocuous feature begins to overstay welcome at the 60-minute mark. Self-distribbing to a few hardtops nationwide, pic will fare better on the small screen.

Santo set several major league records and won numerous honors during his 1961-74 run — Hall of Fame inclusion still awaits — all while suffering from Juvenile Diabetes, which in recent years has necessitated amputation of his legs. Among many anecdotes told here, one of the (unfortunately few) interesting ones is how he somehow managed to hit a homer during a vision-distorting diabetic reaction. Fellow players, including Willie Mays, Ernie Banks and Johnny Bench, as well as celebrity fans like Bill Murray testify to what a great player and all-around nice guy he is. Tech aspects are decently handled.

This Old Cub

Production

A Big Joe production. Produced by Tim Comstock, Jeff Santo. Co-producers, Joe Mantegna, Hollywood Heard. Directed by Jeff Santo. Written by Santo, Tim Comstock.

Crew

Camera (color), Hollywood Heard, Garett Griffin, Terry Pratt; editor, Chris Cibelli; music supervisor, John Bissell. Reviewed on videocassette, San Francisco, Aug. 6, 2004. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Ron Santo, Bill Murray, William Petersen, Dennis Franz, Gary Sinise, Joel Murray, Tom Dreesen, Brian Doyle Murray, Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, Brooks Robinson, Tommy Lasorda, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Joe Morgan.
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