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Fan reaction: Santo is ‘clicking his heels in heaven now’

RSaninducted inBaseball Hall Fame Class 2012. Monday December 5 2011. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Ron Santo inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Monday, December 5, 2011. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 7, 2012 8:10AM

It has stood outside Wrigley Field for less than four months.

But Cubs fans did not waste any time Monday morning adding their own short, poignant inscription to the statue of legendary third baseman and announcer Ron Santo.

“#10 H.O.F.” was scrawled with a Sharpie on a vintage Cubs cap left at the base of the statue’s feet.

As the announcement of Santo’s election to the Hall of Fame spread across rainy off-season Wrigleyville, fans well-versed in the art of waiting all had the same question: That’s great, but what took so long?

“It would have been nice if he’d been alive for the induction,” said Belia Farver, 54, of Lowell, Ind., as she snapped cell phone pictures of the statue for her Facebook page. “I remember he always used to say he didn’t want to get in ‘post-hastily’ — he meant posthumously, but I bet he’s clicking his heels in heaven now.”

Sandy Chapman, 40, of Yorkville, put it more bluntly. “It’s awesome that he’s finally in, but it sucks that they had to wait until he’s dead,” she said as she sat down to lunch.

“Bittersweet, given the timing,” was how Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts described it. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house” in the Cubs front office when the news was announced, Ricketts said.

Standing on an upper deck of the stadium 40 feet above the statue, two construction workers in hard hats peered down through the drizzle at half-a-dozen TV trucks and shouted down, “What happened?”

Told that Santo had been elected, they hollered down, “Yeah! Finally!”

Well-known Cubs megafan Ronnie “Woo Woo” Wickers struck a philosophical note.

“He should have been in three or four years ago, but that’s God’s timing, you can’t argue with that,” he said. “I remember in 1966 when he was on a 28-game hit streak and he told me to keep on yelling ‘Santo woo, Cubs win woo, Santo woo, Cubs win woo!’

“Santo was a good guy and this has been a long time coming.”

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