Santo received 15 votes from the 16-member Veterans Committee panel. Twelve votes were required for election.
"It's really exciting because so many years that we had parties over to his house in spring training saying this is the year, I'd tell him this is the year you're going in the baseball Hall of Fame," said former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Billy Williams, a member of the voting panel.
"With Ernie [Banks], myself and Fergie [Ferguson Jenkins], those players he played with ... to hear this kind of news today that he's inducted in the baseball Hall of Fame is really gratifying because so many times that we talked about it, it's a place he wanted to be. I'm really, really thrilled for him and his family. The one thing, of course, is he's not here to enjoy it, but his family will."
Yes, his family will, but Santo won't. Why elect him after he died instead of allowing him to enjoy this honor while he was alive? Did his stats (Santo hit 342 homers and won five Gold Gloves) change in the last year?
Jim Kaat received 10 votes, Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso each had nine, and Tony Oliva got eight. Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Charlie Finley, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant each received fewer than three votes.
Santo died Dec. 3, 2010, from complications of bladder cancer at age 70. He will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 22.
-- Houston Mitchell
Photo: Ron Santo homers with the Cubs in 1969. Credit: Associated Press