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Andre Dawson laments that Ron Santo won’t be around for induction

Updated: August 20, 2012 12:00PM

Andre Dawson knew how much it meant to Ron Santo to be ­enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

‘‘Over the years,’’ Dawson said, ‘‘we’d talk about it, and he expressed his emotions: ‘Why am I not in?’ I know how much it meant to him, but he didn’t want to talk about himself.’’

Dawson waited years for his enshrinement in 2010, and when he goes to Cooperstown, N.Y., this weekend with the other Hall of Fame luminaries, he, like countless others, will be thrilled to see Santo’s plaque hanging in the ­gallery of champions but sad that Santo didn’t live long enough to see it.

‘‘I’m excited for his family and a little sad because he’s not here to witness it,’’ said Dawson, a longtime executive with the ­Miami Marlins whose years with the Cubs helped in his case for ­induction.

‘‘Without a doubt, he really ­deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. He was one of the premier third basemen in the National League in his era.

‘‘He might have gotten lost a little bit in the lineup with Hall of Famers like Ernie [Banks] and Billy [Williams], but he was a ­catalyst in that lineup.

‘‘I’m sure [Santo’s contemporaries] will be ecstatic.’’

They will be part of a special public party hosted by the Cubs in Cooperstown on Saturday. ­Dawson will be there, too.

‘‘It’s sad because it was a year too late,’’ Dawson said about ­Santo, who died Dec. 3, 2010.

‘‘With all he went through in his life [with diabetes] and what the game and the organization meant to him.

‘‘I remember thinking, ‘Finally.’ Finally and at last. I was actually here in town, and as cold as the weather was [the announcement came in January], I got more chills.

‘‘I just hope his family can grasp the moment and enjoy it. 

‘‘It will be bittersweet, but it is a celebration. I think it’s an exciting event for the city and the Chicago Cubs organization, and I hope his family can understand the ­magnitude of what this honor is and enjoy it.’’

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