Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 12/5/11

For more than 30 years, Chicago Cubs fans and baseball fans alike have been wondering when the day would finally come that Ron Santo would get his just rewards for his 14-year career and be granted entrance into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Finally, almost a year to the day after he died in December 2010, Santo was elected to the Hall by the Veteran’s Committee. He received 15 of 16 votes, and as expected, reaction from around Cubdom was swift.

“Though it is bittersweet that Ron is not here to enjoy this day, we are comforted by the pride members of the Santo family have for their husband, father and grandfather,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. “As an athlete, he was our All-Star.  As a radio analyst, he carried our passion. For those battling illness or disease, he remains an inspiration.  And for all of us who had the honor of calling him our friend, he is forever beloved. ”

Though Ron’s family has said all of the right things, and Cubdom should rightfully be celebrating the induction of a man regarded as a hero by legions of Chicagoans, Ricketts hit the nail on the head when he called the news “bittersweet.” After all, it was this same Veteran’s Committee, as well as the Baseball Writers Association of America, that kept Santo from the Hall during his lifetime. No one has ever been able to successfully explain to me, or to any other proponent of Santo’s induction (including baseball buffs such as Keith Olbermann) why he should not have been enshrined years ago.

This man was one of the top players of his era, standing alongside the greats like Hank Aaron, Billy Williams, and Frank Robinson in categories like home runs, runs, RBI, and hits. In fact, Santo is one of four players who ranked in the top 10 in all of those categories between the years of 1960-1974. All three of those players are in the Hall of Fame, and yet Santo was left on the outside looking in every time the ballots were turned in.

Outside of his hitting, Santo made an incredible impact with his glove as well. He had a run of five consecutive Gold Gloves between 1964-1968, and he held the records for career assists and total chances for nearly 15 years before they were broken by Mike Schmidt. He also set a MLB record for consecutive games played at third base by starting 364 straight games at the hot corner.

Despite all of these accomplishments, Santo still wasn’t considered worthy by Hall voters until it was too late, and that is a scathing indictment of the ineptitude of the men responsible for ensuring that baseball’s greats are adequately honored. For his part, Santo always tried to maintain a positive attitude about the Hall, and he took great joy in the fact that Cubs fans so passionately argued for him.

This classy approach makes it all the more damning that the Hall hadn’t included him yet. No one would blame the Santo family if they declined the invitation to go to Cooperstown in July for the induction, simply because their patriarch wouldn’t be there to share in the celebration that he should have been a part of.

And yet, they will put their best foot forward, and they will honor Ron’s legacy of happiness and humility, and that’s a lesson we can all share in. Yes, we may be upset that Ron was elected a year too late, but the reality is that he wouldn’t want us to be angry, and besides, joy is a lot more fulfilling of an emotion than anger is, and that’s what Ron would want us to focus on.

Ultimately, the Chicago Cubs meant more to him than the immortality of Cooperstown did, and that’s the big thing we can take away from this whole situation. Congratulations to Ron and the entire Santo family. Hopefully they will savor this victory, and they will hopefully revel in the vindication and recognition that Mr. Santo so richly deserved.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Raiders to announce draft picks from ‘Las Vegas’ sign

Riley nearly wrote Dan Gilbert-like letter when LeBron left Heat

Seahawks GM says Marshawn Lynch, Raiders ‘still talking’

Damian Lillard: Beating Warriors has become an obsession

Report: Unnamed top NFL draft prospect accused of sexual assault

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire after 2017 season

Watson warns teams against picking Trubisky over him

Bonds to have street named after him in San Francisco

Report: Blount, Giants have 'mutual interest'

Adrian Peterson confirms he will sign with Saints

The Warriors just trucked the Blazers with 8 threes, 45 points in the first quarter

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Box Score 4/25: 'So long, sleeves'

Most inspirational sports movies, series and docs available for streaming

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

Where it went wrong: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 exits

20 of the best NFL Draft red carpet looks

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB (and that's just the injuries)

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Most inspirational sports movies, series and docs available for streaming

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

Where it went wrong: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 exits

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker