November 1, 1992 – September 17, 2020
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY Christian is the oldest of three children. Growing up, he enjoyed sports – spending his time playing football, baseball, soccer, and basketball.
After being diagnosed with ADHD, processing issues and language delays, Christian became determined to prove himself both on and off the field. He especially struggled in the classroom but was determined to convince others that he would overcome his obstacles. While working hard to maintain an overall ‘B’ average, he still went out of his way to tutor others in his specialty, Math. Christian would always put time aside to help a fellow student.
An outstanding athlete, Christian was recruited out of high school to play baseball at St. Thomas Aquinas College on a full scholarship. After 2 years, Christian was recruited to play baseball in Florida at Northwood University. His time spent at Northwood was very rewarding. Unfortunately, Christian endured an injury and eventually needed Tommy John surgery. The rehab was intense, and he could not receive the necessary resources to recuperate in Florida. Christian decided to come back to New York for rehab and finish the remainder of his academic career at St. Thomas Aquinas College. When the coaches at St. Thomas Aquinas heard he was coming back to school, they immediately approached Christian and asked him if he would like to play ball. Christian immediately said “I would love to if you would have me back.” Christian ended up winning the NCAA award for 1st base. This was not a position he usually played but he took whatever position was available and said “I GOT THIS.”
Christian always said “I don’t like to give up on people when they need someone not to give up on them”. While playing at St. Thomas Aquinas, Christian brought to his parents’ attention that there was a young man that was trying to play college baseball. The problem was that he had a certain tattoo on his face which prevented the coaches from signing him. So Christian decided, with the guidance of his father, to take this young man to the dermatologist to have it laser removed. This boy had no money and lived in a very undesirable neighborhood. Christian took him every few weeks and paid for his laser treatment. He wanted this kid to have the opportunity of getting a college education and with Christian’s guidance, this young man was ultimately recruited by a college.
Upon graduation Christian started a process serving company. He also started working at the Board of Elections, during the presidential primary, which required him to arrive at 3 AM and to work long and hard hours assisting the legal department.
Christian’s real passion was helping people. He used to say “You know you are amazing when you get devoted to making other people amazing”. Find something you love and go for it with all your heart, no excuses, no plan B. Never settle for anything less than you know you can do. It will be hard, but he used to say “I promise it will be worth it”. He continued to follow his passion of playing baseball by playing in a men’s league and by coaching children. He also had a special gift of helping children with special needs. He decided to become a Master Barber, specifically so he could help children with autism, who often struggle with this service due to sensory issues. His goal was to provide a service that would help these children get the care they need.
Christian would give his heart and soul to make someone happy. When his sister asked him to help her high school’s softball team, he stepped up to the plate. The Poly Prep coach brought him in on the spot. Christian volunteered his time there while coaching the girls softball team. He would leave work early just to help them. He would constantly tell them that “all they had to do was to be the best that they could be”. He told them to practice, stay focused and just play their hearts out. The girls loved him so much that the parents were asking him if he would coach them on the side, which he ended up doing every weekend.
Since his passing in September 2020, there have been many dedications to commemorate Christian’s impactful life. His number has been retired by the Brooklyn Tides Organization and St. Thomas Aquinas. In addition, his name is on the scoreboard in Staten Island at Mid Island Baseball League.
There are many stories to tell about Christian, but we hope these few will help you understand what a joyful, kind-hearted, admirable, broadminded, dependable, accepting, loyal and fair-minded individual he was. He was truly a walking angel, a gift from God whose job here on earth was done. He was our ‘9’.
We developed the Christian J. Santo Legacy Foundation to carry on Christian’s work. The mission is to provide, support and assist in the fields of education, health and sports to children and families that may be distressed or in financial need.