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“I think the happy ending was already there, though. He got his statue and this was a little icing on the cake,” son Jeff Santo said. “It definitely puts an end to the chapter there, that’s for sure, with the Hall of Fame.”

Santo made his debut at 20 with the Cubs in 1960 and played his whole career with them until finishing with the crosstown White Sox in 1974.

Like Banks, Santo never got to play in a World Series. They came close in 1969, overtaken in the stretch by a New York Mets team managed by Hodges, the former Brooklyn star first baseman.

That year, Santo liked to jump and click his heels after wins. It was also the season a fateful picture was taken, showing Santo with on a bat on his shoulder in the on-deck circle at Shea Stadium as a black cat scampered past.

“The ‘69 team was so very, very close, and the joy that they had not only as players, but to the day he passed, and they’re still so very close,” Vicki Santo said.


AP Sports Writers Rick Gano and Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.