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12/03/10 12:25 PM EST

Santo's encouragement appreciated by Dawson

Hall of Famer remembers Cubs icon, who passed at age 70

MIAMI -- Before being elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010, Andre Dawson always received encouragement from Ron Santo.

"When it came to the Hall of Fame with me, he would say, 'Just sit tight, it's going to happen,'" Dawson said on Friday. "I listened to this from someone who I felt was a Hall of Famer and belonged in the Hall of Fame."

Dawson believes someday Santo will also secure his place in Cooperstown.

"I honestly feel that someday he's going to get into the Hall of Fame," Dawson said. "But the sad thing is, with his struggles, he will never get to enjoy one day of it."

Santo passed away Thursday from complications of bladder cancer. The legendary Cubs third baseman and broadcaster was 70.

One of the most popular Cubs in history, Santo was beloved for his passion for the organization.

"I used to have conversations with him and he would always ask, 'How are the kids?' He loved the kids," Dawson said. "For the struggles he had, he was never complaining. There was always a smile on his face. Being around the game is what just really made him happy.

"He loved the Cubs. He loved broadcasting. I just never really heard him complain. He was always smiling. He was definitely one of those people who was an icon among Chicago athletes and personalities."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.