UPDATED 12/06/11 11:47 a.m.
(CBS) Ron Santo was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Monday, just over a year after his death.
The former Cubs third-baseman and broadcaster appeared on 15 of the 16 Veteran’s Committee ballots. He needed to appear on 12 of them to get elected.
On Monday morning, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts told CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield and Roseanne Tellez that the occasion is bittersweet, given that Santo isn’t alive to accept his honor, but “it’s a great day for Cub fans everywhere.”
“While we’re very happy and very excited, the number of people here at the Cubs offices that were tearing up was pretty dramatic,” Ricketts said. “Like I said, it’s a little bittersweet, but you know, it’s still a wonderful thing, and we’re just excited. Ron was a great player and obviously great person, so just a wonderful day.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports
Could this honor for Santo be a motivation for the current Cubs?
“I hope so,” Ricketts said. “He was really just a special kind of person to everybody; I mean everybody could look up to Ron – everything he accomplished, and all the challenges he had to overcome to accomplish what he did.”
Santo deserves honors not only for his achievements on the field, but also for everything he did off the field, Ricketts said.
“I mean, he really kind of can be a role model for anybody and really an inspiration to anyone, given everything that he did to fight his own disease and to go on to mean so much to so many people,” he said.
Santo hit .277 during his 15-year career with 342 home runs and 1,331 RBIs. He won five consecutive Gold Gloves and went to nine All-Star Games.