Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer


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The Cubs clicked their heels as they took to the field Friday to face the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field, part of the many tributes to the late and beloved Ron Santo, who was inducted posthumously into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday.
Friday was Ron Santo Day at Wrigley, with the former third baseman's retired No. 10 etched onto the center field grass. No. 10 flags flew along the Wrigley Field roof in tribute as well. The team wore No. 10 patches on their jerseys as well.
On hand for the pre-game ceremonies were Santo's widow, Vicki, who gave his Hall of Fame induction speech; his three children, Ron Jr., Jeff and Linda Brown, and her sons, Sam and Spencer Brown.
Spencer, 7, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, which was caught by former Cub pitcher Kerry Wood, who became Santo's favorite current player during his nearly two decades as a Cubs broadcaster.
Santo was elected by a vote of the Golden Era veterans committee, ending a decades-long wait for Santo, who died of complications of bladder cancer a year before his election.
Though cancer eventually took his life, Santo's life and career were a daily battle with diabetes. He helped raise more than $65 million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through his annual walkathon, golf outings and numerous charitable sponsorships.
Santo spent 14 years with the Cubs and his final career season (1974) with the White Sox, and was one of only four players of the 1960s and early 1970s to collect 2,000 hits, 300 home runs and 1,300 RBI. The others were now fellow Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and his longtime Cubs teammate Billy Williams.
He also was the pioneer of the significant player rights ``five and ten'' clause, giving a player with 10 years of major league service and five with the same team, the right to veto or okay his own trade. The so-called ``Santo Rule'' came after he was the first player to exercise those rights, vetoing a trade to the then-California Angels and instead approving a deal to the Sox so he could remain in Chicago.
The rule is in play now for another Cub, Ryan Dempster, as he weighs the team's offers to trade him.

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This page contains a single entry by Toni Ginnetti published on July 27, 2012 1:30 PM.

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