The impact of Ron Santo’s statue outside Wrigley Field goes far beyond sculptor Lou Cella’s spectacular three-color depiction of the third baseman, standing on one leg and leaning right, ready to fire the ball cross-body to first in his patented 1960s image.
The statue’s unveiling on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon spoke so much of Santo’s character and reach to the masses, who packed both Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue curb to curb and beyond, closing down the busy intersection at the height of the rush hour. Some fans gathered as early as 11 a.m. to stake out a prime spot.
...Too bad a slew of Hall of Famers serving on the Veterans Committee since 2003, unable to elect anyone, let alone a deserving Santo, to Cooperstown, could not have been snatched by a giant hand and deposited amid the mob of fans, three of Santo’s Hall of Fame teammates and a slew of present-day Cubs wearing T-shirts emblazed with the word “Passion,” the “io” forming Santo’s No. 10.
...The Cubs never got it more right than with Santo’s statue, a bronzed reminder that the Hall of Fame electors, Santo’s contemporaries, have to follow in step with their votes. In an age where HD replays display umpires’ glaring errors, there’s only one strategy: just get the call right.