Santo inducted into baseball Hall of Fame - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Santo inducted into baseball Hall of Fame

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(Ron Cogswell/Flickr) (Ron Cogswell/Flickr)
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (Associated Press) -

The late Ron Santo, star third baseman for the Chicago Cubs and later a broadcaster for the team, has been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

His widow, Vicki, gave a heartwarming speech and ended it with: "This is not a sad day. This is a great day. I'm certain that Ronnie is celebrating right now."

In 15 seasons, including one with the White Sox, Santo hit 342 home runs, had a batting average of .277 and won five Gold Gloves.

Yet Santo appeared on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for 15 years and the closest he came to making the Hall cut was 43.1 percent, in 1998 -- far short of the necessary 75 percent.

Finally, thanks to a revamped Golden Era committee -- and a strong push from former Cubs teammate Billy Williams, who stressed Santo's work for juvenile diabetes research -- Santo got in last December, a year and two days after he died at 70.

The Claek Sports Center was evenly divided between Cubs fans and Reds fans to honor the other 2012 inductee, shortstop Barry Larkin.

"God, how he loved the Cubs and Cubs fans " Vicki Santo said. "He would be so grateful you came here today to share this with him."

Santo died of bladder cancer in December 2010.

In St. Louis, the Cubs players paid tribute to Santo by clicking their heels together as they jumped over the third-base line to start the game.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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