Ron Santo elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

December 5, 2011

City Room and the Associated Press

(AP Photo/File)
This June 24, 1969, file photo, shows Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo (10) clicking his heels on the way to the locker room

Former Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

The Hall announced the voting results Monday at the winter meetings.

Santo was a nine-time All-Star, hit 342 career home runs and won five Gold Gloves. After his playing days ended, he became a popular Cubs broadcaster for two decades, eagerly rooting for his favorite team on the air.

Santo was the only candidate among eight considered to receive the required 75% of votes cast to be admitted into the Hall.

He received 15 votes from the 16-member panel. Jim Kaat drew 10 votes, two short of the required number. Gil Hodges and former White Sox great Minnie Minoso each had nine votes.

The vote to admit Santo came almost a year to the day after he passed away on December 3, 2010.  Santo made no secret of his desire to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and during the later years of his life, his failure to win approval was a source of disappointment and heartbreak. 

In a 1997 column about the Hall's decision to belatedly welcome the late White Sox great Nellie Fox into its ranks, writer Mike Royko predicted Santo would face years of disappointment.

“So who will be next as the topic of annual indignation?," Rokyo asked. "I figure it will be Ron Santo, and he will be a fine choice since he is still a relatively young man and should have many good years of being snubbed ahead of him.”

The vote means that Santo will be the first third baseman to be elected to the Hall of Fame since Wade Boggs in 2005, and the 15th third baseman overall. 

During his 15 major league seasons, Santo compiled a .277 lifetime batting average, with 2,254 hits, 1,331 runs batted in and 365 doubles.

The 16-member committee that elected Santo was comprised major league executives and veteran members of the media, including the Chicago Tribune's Dave Van Dyck. It also included Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson and Santo's Cubs teammate Billy Williams. 

"Some people brought out a lot of - other than numbers of Ron Santo - and they talked about what he did for the community," said Williams afterward of the committee's deliberations. "The numbers are there. Everybody saw the numbers, the home runs, the Gold Gloves, and I think they looked at it with a different view, saying this guy should be in the Hall of Fame."

The process to consider candidates by era repeats every three-years, which means the next chance to consider such veteran nominees will take place in 2014.

Santo will be admitted posthumously as part of the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2012.  Induction ceremonies are scheduled for Sunday, July 22nd in Cooperstown, New York.