In honor of dad, Santo family chooses to celebrate

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- The Santo family could have been sad.

They chose to be happy.

They could have focused on how long it took for Ron Santo to get to the Hall of Fame and on how the honor sadly came months after his death.

Instead, they chose to celebrate, just as they believe Santo himself would have celebrated.

"He wanted this for himself," Santo's daughter, Linda Santo-Brown, said Saturday. "But he wanted this for his family, and for Chicago Cubs fans."

At a press conference on the eve of Santo's Sunday induction ceremony, his three children spoke about how much their father had hoped for this honor, but also about the spirit he brought to his life and to the Cubs.

They spoke about the way he fought diabetes, and the way he dealt with losing both his legs.

And they imagined what this weekend could have been, if only it came in time for their father to enjoy it.

"He would say 'Thank you' over and over again," Santo-Brown said. "He would be emotional. It would be true cheers of joy. He would have still been that humble person, saying 'I can't believe this happened.'"

Santo's oldest child, Ron Jr., looks strikingly like his father.

"He signs just like him, too," his sister said.

The Santo children spoke of the day they found out Santo had finally been voted into the Hall of Fame, and they spoke about his life in baseball -- his life with the Cubs, really.

In fact, they revealed, their father was a Cub, right down to his artificial legs.

"He had prosthetics done in home and away Cubs uniforms," Ron Santo Jr. said. "He had white ones with the blue pinstripes and the Cubs logo, and grey ones with the Cubs logo."

He joked about those prosthetics, telling his kids in the winter that his "feet" were cold, playfully jumping when a grandchild would step on a "foot."

He didn't complain about the illness that cost him his legs. And, his children are sure, he wouldn't have complained about not being able to attend his own Hall of Fame induction.

"My dad was not about moping," Santo-Brown said. "He was a very positive person. A part of him is here through us.

"He would want us all celebrating."

And so they have.

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