Santo's Hall of Fame chances improve

It appears the path to Cooperstown for Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo has been cleared. The Hall of Fame announced that Santo is one of 10 candidates to be put on the ballot for the 2012 Golden Era nomination.

The Golden Era is for the election of players and executives who participated from 1947-72 and were passed up by the Baseball Writers Association of America for 15 years.

This will be the first time since 2002 that a committee will decide on the fates of players such as Santo. Over the past nine years, living Hall of Famers have voted on whether these former players and executives would go into the Hall. The Hall of Fame changed its way of voting after the 2009 vote.

Nominees who receive 12 or more votes (75 percent or more) will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. The inductees will be announced on Dec. 5 at the winter meetings in Dallas.

Santo and the other candidates, which include former White Sox great Minnie Minoso, will be voted on by a 16-man committee which includes former players, managers, executives and veteran baseball writers who have been longtime participants in their area of the game.

Former White Sox general manager Roland Hemond, Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams and Chicago writer Dave van Dyck are on the 16-man committee.

The Golden Era candidates are voted on every three years. The cycle includes the Pre-Integration Era (1871-1946), the Golden Era and the Expansion Era (1973-present). Santo was snubbed on the previous veterans committee elections that was voted on by the players.

A nine-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glover, Santo passed away in 2010 at age 70. He became an iconic figure as the Cubs' color commentator on WGN Radio from 1990-2010.