Fan favorites Ron Santo and Barry Larkin were honored in Cooperstown Sunday, beating the odds to claim their spots in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Less than one percent of major league baseball players are ever even nominated for induction. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us how the challenge of getting into the hall made Sunday's induction that much sweeter for the fans.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y.-- Two blank plates await the plaques and baseball wisdom of newly inducted Hall of Famers Barry Larkin and the late Ron Santo.
They will be players 206 and 207 in the hall, and as always, it was an emotional welcome.
"He means a lot to all of us Cub fans, and to see him finally get in is just a great thrill," Cubs fan Robert Nash said of Santo.
It was especially emotional for Cubs fans. Vicki Santo's speech on her late husband's behalf brought many to tears.
"I wish they would have gotten him in before he died, but seeing her up there taking the plaque, I think it's great," another Chicago fan, Chris Newmann said.
But for Reds fans, the induction represents a confirmation of the star they always believed in.
"And for those questions I used to ask, well, no longer will I have to ask those questions anymore, the answer is forever written on my plaque at Cooperstown," 2012 National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee Barry Larkin said.
Larkin's speech was mostly about the role models he had as a young player. Coincidentally, many of his fans see him in the same light.
"Growing up playing little league baseball, you know how tough it is to move on and play long in your career, and then when you can play with one franchise for 19 seasons, I mean that's rare," said Reds fan Jeff Moher.
His induction even brought a few unexpected faces to Cooperstown.
"It's perfect," said actor Charlie Sheen. "Everything could go terrible tomorrow and stay that way; we've got today and that's fine, you know?"
In accepting the plaques, Larkin and Santo's wife remembered the lessons they learned from baseball.
Fans remembered what their role models taught them playing. From now on, those lessons be hanging here, for the rest of us to soak in as well.
National Baseball Hall of Fame officials say Sunday's induction brought out more than 18,000 visitors.