10/07/2003 8:14 PM ET
Notes: Santo's jersey in dugout
CHICAGO -- Ron Santo may not be at Wrigley Field physically but the Chicago Cubs want to make sure their No. 1 fan knows the team is thinking about him.
Santo's No. 10 jersey was to be hung in the Cubs dugout Tuesday night for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins. Santo, the WGN Radio color commentator and former third baseman, returned home to Arizona this week and faces possible bladder surgery.
"If anybody deserves to be here, it's him," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday. "Some of the guys on the team asked me, 'Is it OK?' I said, 'Heck yeah.'"
Santo's No. 10 was retired in ceremonies at the end of the regular season. Two tumors were found on his bladder during a recent physical. Santo already has endured his share of surgeries. He has had both legs amputated below the knee because of complications from diabetes.
"It's not going to make us play any better. We're not doing it for some good-luck charm," Baker said of the gesture. "They asked me and I said OK. I think that's pretty cool that the players did it."
Santo, 63, played for the Cubs from 1960-73 and just finished his 14th season as a Cubs broadcaster on WGN Radio.
Looking ahead: Baker has not officially named Matt Clement as the Game 4 starter, although he would be the logical choice to follow Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood in the best-of-seven NLCS.
Clement, bothered by a strained right groin, has benefitted from extra rest between starts.
Game 4 will be played Saturday in Miami, and if Clement did start, he most likely would face the player the Cubs traded to Florida to get him, Dontrelle Willis.
Who's on first: Randall Simon started at first Tuesday in Game 1 but Baker said he'll do his homework before making his decision.
"It's determined by the stuff the guy throws and what I think, as a former batting coach, about what he throws and how the swings might be," Baker said. "Plus, Simon didn't play the last two games in Atlanta. If I don't play him now and don't play him Wednesday against the right-hander [Brad Penny], that's six days of doing nothing but pinch-hit.
"I've got to continue to do what I've been doing to keep everybody sharp and everybody hot."
Baker also will study the stats before deciding who will start at catcher. Damian Miller has been bothered by a sore groin and Baker didn't want him behind the plate for Clement because there's so much movement on his pitches.
Transactions: The Cubs did not alter their postseason roster for the NLCS from the NL Division Series. That means the Cubs kept Juan Cruz on the pitching staff and left-hander Shawn Estes is still off. Estes had some soreness in his arm.
"We're not sure if he's 100 percent or not and we couldn't afford to take a chance in the seven-game series if his arm didn't respond or whatever," Baker said. "And [the Marlins] are right-handed dominant so we felt the need for another right-handed pitcher and we kept Cruz."
Reliever Kyle Farnsworth, who jammed his knee in the ground in Game 4 of the NLDS when he slipped, was available, Baker said.
All Sammy all the time: Sammy Sosa went 3-for-16 in the NLDS with one extra-base hit, a double and one RBI. It's been quite a roller-coaster ride for Sosa this year, beginning in April with his 500th home run, then missing three weeks with a sore toe, then the corked-bat incident.
"It's pretty awesome -- the guy missed 24 games and still hit 40 home runs," Baker said of Sosa. "That's a lot of games missed and he still drives in 100 runs. I think Sammy had a very good season, very difficult emotionally and mentally and physically, too. But Sammy is a strong man and I think he came through with flying colors, considering everything that's happened."
Man of the people: Baker hasn't been out on the town, basking in the glow of getting to the NLCS.
"I can't hardly leave the top down of my car. I feel like I'm on parade," said Baker, who drives a Lexus coupe.
History lesson: Evidently not everyone has a copy of "Total Baseball" or the "Baseball Encyclopedia" in their home. When the Cubs won the NL Division Series, it was their first postseason series win since 1908. In their other World Series appearances -- 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938 and 1945 -- the team did not have to win any preliminary playoff series. The League Championship Series did not begin until 1969. Division Series play did not begin until 1995.
Speaking of history, Baker has done his best to downplay the Cubs' lack of success over the years.
"I just tell our guys 'Don't listen to it,'" Baker said. "Don't listen to the dates. Don't listen to anything negative because we didn't have anything to do with that. And it's a new time, a new era. This is No. 1 as far as I'm concerned.
"We have a lot of guys that come from other places that really don't know any of these dates," he said.
Thanks, Dave: Baker took time during his pregame news conference to thank former Marlins executive Dave Dombrowski, now president of the Detroit Tigers. Baker said Dombrowski was the first person who tried to hire him.
"I think what's going on with the Marlins really is the job that Dave Dombrowski did with putting most of the team together," Baker said. "I just want to say 'hello' to him."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com