On Monday, Cooperstown finally came calling.
The barrel-chested third baseman who clicked his heels in victory was elected to the Hall, overwhelmingly chosen by the Veterans Committee nearly a year to the day after he died hoping for this very honor.
“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,” said Hall of Fame teammate Billy Williams, a member of the voting panel.
“The one thing, of course, is he’s not here to enjoy it, but his family will. He long awaited this, and we’re all happy. I know I’m happy, his family is happy, the fans of Chicago are happy,” he said.
Santo was a nine-time All-Star, hit 342 home runs and won five Gold Gloves. He was a Cubs broadcaster for two decades, beloved by the home crowd for the way he eagerly cheered for his favorite team on the air, hollering “Yes! Yes!” or “All right!” after good plays and groaning “Oh, no!” or “It’s bad” when things went wrong.
Shortly after the announcement, Santo’s flag — white with blue pinstripes, plus his name and No. 10 — was flying from the center pole atop the scoreboard at Wrigley Field.
“There was always kind of a missing piece of the puzzle of Cubs‘ history,” team owner Tom Ricketts said.
Santo breezed in with 15 votes from the 16-member panel.
Marlins add Reyes as spending continues
Jose Reyes is speeding to the suddenly splurging Miami Marlins.
The All-Star shortstop became the second top free agent to land with the Marlins in a matter of days, agreeing Sunday night to a $106 million, six-year contract.
After adding All-Star closer Heath Bell for $27 million over three years, the Marlins gave the NL batting champion a deal that includes a club option for 2018 that would make the contract worth $120 million, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been announced.
Preparing to move into a $515 million retractable-roof ballpark, the Marlins hired Ozzie Guillen as their manager and have become a driving force in the market ahead of the winter meetings, which start Monday.
Reyes last year become the Mets’ first NL batting champion, when he hit .337 and topped the league with 16 triples. He also stole 39 bases.
Movement afoot to cut Ramirez’s suspension
Major League Baseball and the players’ association are working on an agreement to cut Manny Ramirez’s drug suspension from 100 games to 50 because he already sat out most of last season.
Having already served a 50-game ban for violating baseball’s drug agreement in 2009, Ramirez faced a 100-game suspension last spring for a second offense. But rather than serve the penalty, he told the commissioner’s office he was quitting.