CHICAGO – When Ron Santo died last month, his funeral procession traveled by Wrigley Field and well-wishers gathered on sidewalks to cheer the former Chicago Cubs broadcaster and third baseman one last time.
Now, the cozy neighborhood ballpark will feature a more permanent reminder of one of the franchise's most beloved figures.
The Cubs announced Saturday they will unveil a Santo statue outside their longtime home before their game against the Washington Nationals on Aug. 10. Players, coaches and other uniformed personnel will wear a special patch next season to pay tribute to one of the team's most enthusiastic backers.
"We join our great fans in dedicating the 2011 campaign to a man who dedicated so much of himself to us," owner Tom Ricketts said in a release.
He becomes the fourth person with a statue of his likeness outside Wrigley, joining Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Harry Caray. The location is still to be determined.
A nine-time All-Star in his 15-year career, Santo hit .277 with 342 homers and 1,331 RBIs. He also won the Gold Glove award five times.
Santo's long battle with diabetes cost him both legs below the knees, but he ultimately died of complications from bladder cancer on Dec. 3 at age 70.
"Ron Santo will always be remembered as an extraordinary player, as the ultimate Cub fan and for his tireless commitment towards juvenile diabetes research," Ricketts said. "On behalf of the Cubs organization, we are proud to honor Ron Santo with a statue of his likeness at Wrigley Field so that future generations can remember his remarkable legacy on-and-off the field."