Why Ron Santo Belongs in the Hall of Fame (Part 1)

On February 27th, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the voting results of the 84 members of the Veterans Committee. In a three part series, guest columnist and reader, "Dying Cub Fan" takes a look at the candidacy of former Cubs third basemen, Ron Santo.

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"Red Sox Nation: In your opinion, who's the best player not in the HOF? Bill James: Ron Santo"

10/27/04 Interview with Bill James on RedSoxNation.Net, 1 http://www.redsoxnation.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=11048 Ron Santo has a meritorious case for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. There are currently thirteen third basemen2 in the Hall of Fame: Frank "Home Run" Baker, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Jimmy Collins, Ray Dandridge, Judy Johnson, George Kell, Freddy Lindstrom, Eddie Mathews, Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Pie Traynor and Jud Wilson (who was inducted in 2006). When compared to the ten major league third basemen currently in the Hall of Fame (leaving aside, for purposes of this discussion, the three Negro League players, Johnson, Dandridge and Wilson), Santo's offensive numbers fit squarely in the middle of that group. The offensive numbers demonstrate that Santo was better than five of the major league third basemen currently in the Hall of Fame. The numbers indicate that Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Baker and Boggs (in roughly that order) were better than Santo. Santo has a clear edge on everyone else. During his career Ron Santo was a nine-time All-Star. He finished in the top ten in MVP voting four times. He had the fifth highest RBI total of all major league players during the 1960s (topped only by Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson). During that period no player in the National League drew more walks. 3 He won five consecutive Gold Gloves at third base, and led NL third basemen in putouts, assists, chances and double plays in many seasons. He was among the league leaders in on base percentage and slugging percentage throughout the 1960s; he finished in the top 10 in both categories in his league in every season from 1964 through 1967. He hit more home runs in his career than any third baseman currently in the Hall of Fame other than Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews. He combined power and defense to a degree that was unprecedented for third basemen. He coupled that with an ability to draw walks that added value in a manner that has often gone unappreciated. In his 2001 Historical Baseball Abstract Bill James ranked Santo as the 6th best third baseman of all time; he ranked Robinson 7th. He ranked Traynor as the 15th best third baseman (behind Stan Hack, Darrell Evans, Sal Bando, Ken Boyer, Graig Nettles and Al Rosen), Collins 17th (after Ron Cey), Kell 30th and Lindstrom 43rd. Santo fits squarely within the middle of the group of third basemen in the Hall of Fame. Santo was arguably the best player at his position in the major leagues for an extended period of time, a dominant hitter and a great defender. He should be in the Hall of Fame. Understanding Context One of the difficult things in evaluating players is determining what statistics mean in different eras. Yet understanding the context in which Santo played is important to understanding how good he was, and understanding what the game was like during the time Collins played, or when Lindstrom or Traynor played, is important to understanding what their numbers mean. Santo never hit .379 like Lindstrom did in 1930, or .366 like Traynor did that same year. In what was an off-year for him, he hit .246 in 1968, the "Year of the Pitcher," with 26 homers (6th in the league) and 98 rbi (2nd) when the league batting average was .243, the average team scored 3.43 runs a game and the league ERA was 2.98. In 1930, the league batting average in the NL was .303, the average team scored 5.68 runs per game and the league ERA was 4.97. In 1930, Bill Terry hit .401, Babe Herman hit .393, Chuck Klein hit .386 and Lefty O'Doul hit .383;4 Lindstrom's high batting average that year was fifth in the league, Traynor's ninth. In 1930, the New York Giants' team batting average was .319; the Cubs had a team on base percentage of .378 and a team slugging percentage of .481. The 106 rbi that Lindstrom had in 1930 did not rank in the top ten in the league that year; Traynor's 119 rbi that year were 8th in the league. In Lindstrom's other big year, 1928, the average team scored 4.70 runs per game, the league batting average was .281 and the league ERA was 3.99. In 1967, the NL batting average was .249, the average team scored 3.84 runs per game and the league ERA was 3.38. Santo hit .300 with 31 homers (3rd in the league) and 98 rbi (7th) that year. Santo and Lindstrom finished in the top ten in batting average the same number of times, three. Traynor, Lindstrom and Collins all played before the color line was broken. Traynor, Lindstrom and Collins did not have to face Koufax, Drysdale, Marichal, Gibson, et al. in the mid-to-late sixties, or contend with night baseball. Santo did. In January 1963, the strike zone was expanded by rule. After 1968, a year in which the American League batting champion hit .301, rule changes were instituted lowering the height of the mound from fifteen inches to ten and reverting the strike zone to its 1962 dimensions. In the 2001 Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James described the 1963 strike zone change in this way:

The effect of this redefinition was dramatic. The action was taken . . . because there was a feeling that runs (and in particular home runs) had become too cheap. Roger Maris' breaking Babe Ruth's single-season home run record contributed to that feeling. The thinking was that, by giving the pitchers a few inches at the top and bottom of the strike zone, they could whittle the offense down just a little bit. The action cut deeper than anticipated. Home run output in 1963 dropped by ten percent, and total runs dropped by 12%, from 4.5 per game to 3.9. Batting averages dropped by twelve points. Baseball's second dead ball era had begun. (2001 Historical Baseball Abstract, p 249)

James has also noted that some teams (the most notable example being the Dodgers) took advantage of the fact that mound height was not closely regulated during the '60s to build mounds even higher than the fifteen inches the rules then permitted, giving power pitchers even more of an advantage. Santo's best years coincided exactly with this period.5

One of the best ways of trying to assess the historical context of a player's numbers is to examine that player's performance relative to his contemporaries. Of readily available statistics, the OPS+ stat does this pretty well. The correlation of OPS (compiled by adding a player's on base percentage to his slugging percentage) to a player's ability to produce runs has been well demonstrated. OPS+ measures a player relative to the OPS league average on a scale based on 100. A 100 OPS+ in any year is the league average. When evaluated in terms of OPS+, as will be shown below, Santo stands out. Another way of evaluating historical context is by using Win Shares. Here as well Santo stands out. As will be shown below, Santo had a much higher level of peak offensive performance than every major league Hall of Fame third baseman other than Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Baker and Boggs. In this analysis, he is very close to Baker and Boggs, however, closer to them than the third basemen below him are to him. His career numbers stack up solidly in the middle of all major league Hall of Fame third basemen as well. Career Statistics Here are the career offensive statistics for the ten major league Hall of Fame third basemen (with Santo included) ranked by career OPS+:
  R H 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS+
Schmidt[1972-1989] 1506 2234 408 59 548 1595 .267 .380 .527 147
Mathews[1952-1968] 1509 2315 354 72 512 1453 .271 .376 .509 143
Brett[1973-1993] 1583 3154 665 137 317 1595 .305 .369 .487 135
Baker[1908-1922] 887 1838 315 103 96 987 .307 .363 .442 135
Boggs[1982-1999] 1513 3010 578 61 118 1014 .328 .415 .443 130
Santo[1960-1974] 1138 2254 365 67 342 1331 .277 .362 .464 125
Collins[1895-1908] 1055 1999 352 116 65 983 .294 .343 .409 113
Kell[1943-1957] 881 2054 385 50 78 870 .306 .367 .414 111
Lindstrom[1924-1936] 895 1747 301 81 103 779 .311 .351 .449 110
Traynor[1920-1937] 1183 2416 371 164 58 1273 .320 .362 .435 107
Robinson[1955-1977] 1232 2848 482 68 268 1357 .267 .322 .401 104
Santo is behind only Schmidt and Mathews in career home runs. He ranks behind Schmidt, Mathews, Brett and Robinson in career RBI, but Brett and Robinson each had nearly 2,000 more career at bats than Santo. Peak Value Santo put up more big years, relative to his contemporaries, than did Robinson, Collins, Kell, Lindstrom or Traynor. What follows is an evaluation of how Santo and the ten current major league third basemen in the Hall of Fame performed offensively when compared to their contemporaries, using the OPS+ statistic on a season-by-season basis. Here are the ten major league Hall of Fame third basemen (with Santo included) listing number of seasons with an OPS+ over 110, 130 and 150 (or 10%, 30% and 50% better than league average):
  Seasons Over 110 Seasons Over 130 Seasons Over 150
Schmidt 15 13 10
Mathews 15 10 7
Brett 16 12 4
Boggs 11 8 4
Santo 11 6 3
Baker 9 6 3
Collins 9 2 0
Lindstrom 5 2 0
Robinson 8 1 0
Kell 8 1 0
Traynor 6 0 0
As this table shows, Santo had more big years, relative to his contemporaries, than did Lindstrom, Collins, Traynor, Robinson or Kell. From 1964 though 1967, Santo's numbers stacked up favorably with the very best offensive players in the National League; at the same time he was winning Gold Gloves at a key defensive position. During the '60s, Santo was third in the entire National League in RBI, with 937; the only players with more were Aaron and Mays (Frank Robinson had more as well, but he was traded to the AL after the 1965 season). He was a dominant offensive player for a sustained period, something that cannot be said of Lindstrom, Collins, Traynor, Robinson or Kell. Robinson had one year when he performed at such a level (1964). Kell, Traynor and Lindstrom were similar players offensively: despite high batting averages, none of them had much power and none of them walked very much. Santo's power and plate discipline give him a clear edge over these three players. The Bill James Win Shares analysis supports the conclusion that Santo was a dominant force in the '60s, having at least 30 win shares in 4 consecutive years (1964-1967). According to James, a 30 win share season is "in general, an MVP-candidate season." (2001 Historical Baseball Abstract, p. 335). Santo never won an MVP, but a reasonable argument can be made that he was the best player in his league in several years, particularly in 1964 and 1966. Neither Traynor nor Kell ever had a 30 win share season. Robinson, Collins and Lindstrom each had one. References 1 Bill James has written several times on Santo's merits for Hall of Fame induction. See James, The Politics of Glory: How Baseball's Hall of Fame Really Works, Macmillan (1994) at 343-44; James, 2001 Historical Baseball Abstract, Free Press (2001) at 541-42. For another piece supporting Santo, see http://espn.go.com/mlb/columns/neyer_rob/1514118.html. 2 See list at http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_honorees/lists/pos&3B.htm. There are fewer third basemen in the Hall of Fame than there are players from any other position, even after giving effect to the induction of four third basemen in the past ten years (three from the major leagues and one, Jud Wilson, from the Negro Leagues). 3 Decade stats courtesy of http://www.baseballimmortals.net/decades/decades.shtml. 4 Klein and O'Doul were teammates on the Phillies in 1930. Their high batting averages helped the Phillies to a last place finish with a 52-102 record. The Phillies scored 944 runs (over six runs per game), but gave up an astronomical 1199 runs (nearly eight runs per game). 5 For an interesting take on the large strike zone era, see http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/re-imagining-the-big-zone-sixties-part-1-1963-1965/; and http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/re-imagining-the-big-zone-sixties-part-2-1966-1968/. --------- Tomorrow "Dying Cub Fan" takes a closer look at some of Santo's peers at the third base position, including Brooks Robinson. If you're convinced already and don't need to wait until tomorrow you can send "comments and suggestions" to the Veterans Committee or sign the online petition at santoforhall.com.
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Comments

I called a talk-show back in the '80s to ask Cardinal broadcaster Mike Shannon if he thought Santo or Ken Boyer should be in the HOF.

Shannon played with Boyer and essentially replaced him and played against against Santo during his great seasons.

He did not hesitate to answer " I don't think either of them were Hall of Fame players".

I think he's dead wrong, but it points out the prevailing view of Santo's contemporaries. I can't see Santo getting in, as much as he deserves it.

Life ain't always fair.

I showed up late to take my SAT as a high school senior in California in 1991. I was wearing the same Cubs hat that I wore everyday. The faculty staffer that awaited me behind the desk at the head of the deadly silent room (the test was in progress) was a middle aged man who solemnly doled out a test booklet and answer sheet.

As I reached for the materials he says to me, "So you're a Cubs fan?" Caught off-guard I said yes, I was.
He then says, "I don't imagine you've ever seen Fergie Jenkins pitch or Ron Santo play." To which I had to say no, that I hadn't.
He then goes on to tell me, as people in the first rows began to stop their pencils, that he was from Chicago, and when he was my age his heroes were Fergie Jenkins and Ron Santo, and this and that about the two Cubs greats.
We traded a couple other comments on the Cubs of that year, then he wished me luck and I went and took my test.

The End

Now, I know this anecdote may not have much to do with Ron's chances for induction, but considering my age and where I grew up, it's the only one I have other than the usual earful I would get from my Dad bemoaning every other 3rd basemen we've had since.

Cubby,

If you were taking your SAT's in 1991, you were most likely old enough to watch Jenkins, at least in his 2nd go around.

Guest Columnist,

I don't think I would use both 'SABR' stats and traditional stats to present why Santo belongs in the HoF. Either use counting stats or SABR stats, when you try to mix them both, I think you actually weaken your case, because you have to start building in excuses, and it also looks like you're cherry picking. "Santo was a Great RBI man. He had less RBI's than these other guys, but he had fewer AB's. It doesn't bother me at all that I am going to compare him to leadoff hitters to determine this." This is just after you finished explain to us about context. Wade Boggs was a much more feared RBI man in his day than Santo. Check out their IBB totals.

Also interesting on the concept of context here, you seem to ignore the real world application of it, especially when you talk about Santo's OBP. If you were to ask 10 managers from the 60's (if you could find them), 70's, or 80's who were the best OBP guys in their respectilve leagues for those decades, how many would be able to answer accurately? And if they did, they most likely would just name the Tony Gwynn's who had heavily BA dependent numbers. My point is that OBP wasn't really a valued statistic at the time. Sure, Santo was excelling at it, but it wasn't really something he was most likely encouraged to excel at. His job was to drive in runs, not to take walks and get hit by pitches. You're using the context of what you 'know' now, to evaluate a player who's best seasons were 40 years ago, and who wasn't evaluated by those same methods.

Finally I don't, in general, like the LCD method of justifying a Hall of Famer. When you say that this guy did one thing better than that guy, and something else better than that other guy, and a third thing better than some third guy, it just tells me, that he wasn't better at everything than anyone, so if you put him in, the next fringe guy will get an easier ride, because they had 111 more RBI's and 212 more SB's than Ron Santo. Using that argument successfully and repeatedly eventually gets Tim Wallach in the HoF.

All in all though, an informative read. Nice job.

Nice article Dying Cub Fan!

I was waiting for the once every two years Santo for HOF article. Thankfully, the Veteran's Committee only meets every two years.

I don't think Santo gets in, nor do I think he belongs.

I see where Bill James says Ron Santo is the best player not in the HOF, but I wonder if he thinks he should be in the HOF.

According to the "Hall of Fame Career Standards Test" and "Hall of Fame Monitor" on baseball-reference.com, both Bill James creations, it shows Santo to fall short of being HOF worthy.

Santo - 40.9 (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
Santo - 88.0 (Likely HOFer > 100)

Santo deserves to be in the Hall, but will never get in. It's an exclusive club and its members will not willingly let any others in. The only hope he had was with the players that saw him play, and as they die off his number of votes will diminish every year. I have stopped hoping.

"I see where Bill James says Ron Santo is the best player not in the HOF, but I wonder if he thinks he should be in the HOF."

A very interesting question you pose. I recall from my readings of Bill Jmaes that he does advocate Santo's election to the HOF, in part because he believes third basemen are so underrepresented in the HOF.

He has tended to shy away from HOF admission arguments in general, finding them fruitless and a bit exasperating.

Sorry, I meant to say his votes will diminish every other year. I do think that eventually they will have to change the voting for the old timers, as no one or very few will get in under the current system. It will come too late for Santo.

OT-- Sosa news from Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

One source said the Rangers would offer Sammy Sosa a minor league contract loaded with incentives with an invitation to spring training.

Click here for the full story. Minor league contract. Ouch. Embarrassing & amusing all at once.

Santo should be in, being one of the best all around third basemen in baseball.

When do the announce the Vet committee decision?

Regarding Bill James' opinion on Ron Santo, here's what he wrote in the Historical Baseball Abstract:

"Players who were nowhere near as good as Ron Santo were elected to the Hall of Fame in the 1950s, players who were nowhere near as good as Ron Santo were elected to the Hall of Fame in the 1960s, players who were nowhere near as good as Ron Santo were elected to the Hall of Fame in the 1970s (lots of them), players who were nowhere near as good as Ron Santo were elected to the Hall of Fame in the 1980s, and players who were nowhere near as good as Ron Santo were elected to the Hall of Fame in the 1990s. . . . Ron Santo towers far above the real standard of the real Hall of Fame."

James doesn't go as far as saying that if he were to design a hall of fame he would include Santo, but he simply states that Santo should be in the current Hall of Fame because he is clearly better than not just the worst 3B in the Hall of Fame, but better than the majority of the 3B in the Hall of fame. James stated, "[t]he Ted Williams/Bob Gibson/Honus Wagner standard for Hall of Fame selection has never existed anywhere except in the imaginations of people who don't know anything about the subject."

Also OT, and I figured AZ Phil would be all over this:

Jan. 15 - Salary arbitration filing

January 18 - Exchange of salary arbitration figures

February 1-21 - Salary arbitration hearings

Miyak made the point that I have always made concerning whether or not Ron Santo should be in the Hall of Fame. Santo was not only better than the least of the HOF third basemen, he was better than the majority of the third basemen in the HOF.

I'm not sure what legitimate argument can be made to keep Santo out of the Hall. The arguments for Hall induction far outweigh the arguments against.

I wonder, which minor leaguer will get called up first this season, Sammy Sosa or John Mabry?

2 things.
One, Neal, you are joking aboout Boggs being a more feared RBI man than Santo, right?

Ok....comparing just empirical stats, Brooks Robinson was considered the best 3B of the time, from 1960-1974, give or take.
Taking this into oversimplified terms I'm sure, here are their averages for a 162 game season:
Robinson: .267/.322/.401, 69 R, 27 2B,
15 HR, 76 RBI.
Santo:.277/.362/.46482 R, 26 2B,
25 HR, 96 RBI

Robinson was a better fielder, but not by much. Santo was a much better hitter. Robinson's #'s stack up better more because of longevity..he came up a couple of years earlier, he stuck around a couple of years longer...about 2500 AB's worth.
Santo was the best 3B in the national league, even a little better than Ken Boyer.
How is Robinson considered that much better?

Miyak-
Thanks for that quote. To me that means Bill James feels some unworthy players were put in, so since those unworthy players were put in, Santo should be put insince he was better than those players. I don't like that logic.

Yes, the baseball HOF has made many mistakes in putting players in, but you can't just take them out. They need to stop compounding those mistakes and tighten up the reigns and I think that is what the Veteran Committee is doing, even if they have alternative reasons.

"How is Robinson considered that much better?"

Not that it's right, but they are still showing his World Series hilights. I think that helped Robinson alot, and hurts Santo with no post season.

Manny, Bill James doesn't like that logic either, and has said so in the past. It's one of the reasons he has said he dislikes being drawn into HOF debates.

Robinson vs Santo is tomorrow's piece essentially

announcement is Feb 27th, first line of the piece

Jacos-
What also hurts Santo is the players who played when Santo played really don't like him (and I assume the baseball writers also). The whole heel clicking thing and such. And his shameless constant self promotion now probably really bugs current HOFers. Unlike a poster above, I think the more years that go by the better chance Santo has to get in as the players who are on the Veteran Committee who don't like him will slowly die off and players like Sandberg are getting a vote and will more likely vote for Santo than the old timers would.

One thing that is rarely mentioned is Santo's diabetes. Perhaps this is because it doesn't need to be. I think he deserves to be in based on his performance alone. But taking into consideration that he battled a disease that no one knew jack-shit about back then on a daily basis only adds to my feeling that he should be in. It is easy for the voters to take a situation like Kirby Puckett into account when voting, but how do you even begin to measure how much better Santo could have been without having his blood sugar drop during innings and having to stuff a candy bar down to bring it back up before the next at bat. It is not easy keeping your blood sugar in check all day every day, much less with a grueling MLB schedule.

Wow...that's a really good point Manny.
good call...

Thanks Rob, I need to read.

Manny-
Good point.

"shameless constant self promotion now probably really bugs current HOFers"

If that's true probably half the members are guilty of self promoting.

Does anyone remember Johnny Bench singing?
Ozzie Smith on TWIB?

Jacos,
No, I mean self promoting for a HOF nomination, not self promoting their career. Sorry about that confusion.

Looks like the Yankees are getting the 2008 All-Star Game in their last season there before they move into the new stadium. St. Louis was tabbed for the 2009 All-Star Game.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

OT again -- Looks like the Tribune Co. has some sort of unofficial deadline for accepting bids... one analyst says a deal for Tribune probably won't happen... from Forbes.com:

...All bids are reportedly due Wednesday, although the company will not confirm the deadline...

...Huber added that he believes it is unlikely that Tribune will be sold at all...

Click here for the full story.

cubs/ohman...2yr, no financials released yet

I would love to hear a compelling argument against Santo going to the Hall. Putting him in doesn't lower the standards or "dumb-down" the Hall, Ron Santo should be the standard of the Hall of Fame. He was the best third basemen of his generation (yes, better than the overrated Brooks Robinson) and when his career was over, easily one of the top 5 of all-time.

wow, 2 yrs? Did he just give up a year of free agency?

nevermind, he was still 2 yrs away. I would assume this means he's still in their plans for next year then.

dumpster, howry, wood, eyre, ohman, cotts (3 lefties)

wuertz...novoa...the kids...

interesting...

a very nice 2-part Q&A with BP and Foxsports writer Dayn Perry about all things Cubs..

http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2007/01...

http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2007/01...

oh yeah...and wade miller...

Cotts isn't very effective versus lefties though, at least not anymore effective than he is against righties. He should just take over Rusch's swingman role but we'll see...

i just worry about wuertz with all this...yeah, they can send him to the minors, but it also places him in a position to be expendable via trade.

if he needs more polish, its not much. he's got his 2 pitches and his occasional wildness is his only knock.

when he keeps the ball located and down, he's pretty deadly...and has 3-4 years of club control left.

Terrific work, I wish the server would have let me read it a day or two ago!

Right or wrong, Ron Santo has zero chance of getting selected into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Dredging up this story time and time again doesn't help Santo.

I'm old enough to remember when Santo was a rookie. I was an attentive Cub fan his entire career. Here is what I remember.

He was a very good player, an all-star, with a little bit of a choke issue. When he was up in close games, I used to hope for a strikeout, because the alternative was a double-play grounder. He usually disappointed me and hit the ground ball. I was a kid, maybe I was over-reacting.

I remember him being booed at Wrigley, more than once. I consider that a red flag. A friend of mine tells me, What does booing matter, they booed Mike Schmidt in Philly.

Well, what about that? Why did they boo Mike Schmidt? I assume there must have been a reason.

They never booed Banks or Williams.

Santo was a great fielder, with great, soft hands. He could have fielded balls with his glove glued shut just by balancing the ball on the outside of the glove.

But better than Robinson? Robinson was a better fielder and big-game clutch hitter. In '69, when Santo should have been leading the Cubs to a world series, he is mostly remembered for clicking his heels.

Hickman was the clutch hitter on that team, by the way.

I figure Santo will make it eventually because at some point the only thing left will be the numbers, and the numbers are good.

It's not a great consolation to me, after waiting all this long for a lousy pennant, to get guys in the Hall of Fame anyway. At some level it's the players who are the culprits.

Va. Phil, your memory is spot-on. I was 15 in 1969, so I lived through the best and worst of those Cubbie years. The debacle of '69 was a formative experience for me, i came to realize years later.

Jack Buck on Cardinal radio used to count the outs needed to close out a game before Williams came up. He never counted the outs before Santo was due up again.

If the Cubs win their division in '69 - or one of the years between '69 and '73, when it was there for the taking - Santo's would've been in the HOF years ago. He was the very real face of that Cub team - he was in your face, for good and bad. It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

My friends who were Cardinal fans (in Danville, the fan breakdown was 45% Cub, 45% Cardinal, 1% White Sox and 9% other) intensely disliked Santo, unlike their general dislike for the Cubs. He was the lightning rod.

Ronnie was my favorite Cub. But if 1969 taught me anything, it was to not unduly invest one's emotions in a ballteam or player. Enjoy the game, root more than a sportswriter, be very interested in the team and their fortunes, but strive to assess and regard all things Cub with realism and detachment..

I think Santo will eventually get in. It may be another 50 years, but he'll get in, as the appreciation for his skillset grows, as it inevitably will. But if he doesn't get in, it'll be because he didn't impress his contemporaries enough.

I can't recall if this is in the article or not, but Santo received 56.8% in 2003 and 65% in 2005. He tied Gil Hodges in 2005, was third behind Hodges and Tony Oliva in 2003. I believe he'll need 63 votes this time around, he received 52 last time. We need 11 bastards to fall in line. He should get at least one in Ryno.

Ron Santo was a nice ballplayer. He wasn't a great player. And he certainly was not in the class of Brooks Robinson. If I had a vote for the Hall of Fame, he wouldn't get it. I love the guy and admire the guy. But he ain't a Hall of Famer.

I love Ron Santo, but he's so damn borderline wrt HOF. Because he played with diabetes, and has been a positive factor for the game in retirement, I think the Vets should give him the nod. As many have noted, there are so many weak HOF cases, would it kill them to put Santo in?

I take issue with all the Brooks Robinson love, btw. Talk about overrated. He was a terrific fielder, great. He was a crummy hitter, he had one strong season. Half his rep is due to the fact he played for what, 30 years it seems, and all for one team. I don't begrudge him in the HOF, but he was not a better all-around player than Santo.

[...]  ”Dying Cub Fan” continues his look at the candidacy of Ron Santo for Baseball’s Hall of Fame in the second part of this three part series. [...]

You can't reward Santo for his 'rate stats' and then punish Robinson for his longevity. That makes no sense, unless you think Santo without his condition would have put up as good numbers when he was 38-40 as he did when he was 28-30. Robinson was also the greatest fielding thirdbasemen ever, what was Santo the greatest at?

There is no doubt that #10 belongs in the HOF. Well, either that or kick out a bunch of guys who are currently enshrined. Santo's career WARP3 (a stat that takes defense into account) is about 116. Ernie Banks is 127, and he played about 8 more years than Santo. Billy Williams equals Santo's number, again in a much longer career. Same with Robinson: similar numbers (123 WARP3), MUCH longer career.

Can we please stop the nonsense about clutch hitting? Can we just declare a TCR moratorium on the word "clutch?" And if anyone's going to call me a stathead, then I name him "clutchhead." Anyway, here are Santo's HR totals per inning for his career:

1 33
2 21
3 24
4 55
5 35
6 55
7 31
8 40
9 39
10+ 6

Wow, lookee here. Seems to me they're pretty evenly distributed. Maybe he did hit a couple out in the late innings. Golly gee I guess I didn't remember those. Too busy counting the outs till Billy Williams came to bat, I guess. Now I didn't spend the 29 bucks to get the Baseball Reference membership so I couldn't look up hits, GIDP, SO, and a bunch of other stats by inning, but guess what? You're going to find them evenly distributed!! I guarantee it!!!

[...] “Dying Cub Fan” finishes his look at the career of Ron Santo and what has kept him out of the Hall of Fame to this date. [...]

I was discharged from the U S Navy about the same time Ron arrived in Chicago and I can say that no Cub was better in the clutch then Santo. If the game was on the line, he would find some way to drive in that run. He always would be in the top 5 in walks and Sac Flys and you would find yourself saying in a tough defensive situation" Hit it to Santo". Maybe selection to the HOF should be decided by computers
Then it would be decided by a players stats and previous inductee's. Because the present process is creating a gross in justice.

I have read in previous comments that Santo was not liked by opponets and that could be the reason he has been overlooked? If that's the case why is Ty Cobb in the Hall? These guy's were competitors and played hard all the time.Just listening to him on the Radio will tell you how compassionet he is. We are seeing less of this in the MLB these days.

[...] - A final thanks to “Dying Cub Fan” for his advocacy pieces on Ron Santo’s Hall of Fame candidacy. If you do have a moment, at the very least, please go visit santoforhall.com and sign their online petition which will be forwarded to the Veterans Committee. [...]

[...] - “Dying Cub Fan” of Ron Santo fame, sent along a few links gauging some of the Veterans Committee members’ takes on Santo’s candidacy. Bob Feller believes Riggs Stephenson is more deserving than Ron Santo (although Riggs isn’t even on the ballot, makes you wonder what trouble Riggs got Feller out of back in the day). Feller has this little gem: “We’re going to find out in a few days who makes it, and I think we’re going to lower the standards, and when we lower the standards, I think [Ron] will have a better chance.” [...]

[...] In a completely unrelated event, earlier this year one of The Cub Reporters sent out very cordial emails to a variety of “real” journalists asking their support in promoting the work done here by “Dying Cub Fan” arguing for Ron Santo’s selection to the Hall of Fame. The premise was that while the Veteran’s Committee casts the votes, pro-Santo publicity by the mainstream media could only be a positive influence on the VC’s decision. Some of the journalists sent courteous replies of varying degrees of interest. One “journalist,” however, responded with the terse rebuke that they knew of Santo’s credentials, and that it wasn’t up to the fans to decide. [...]

[...] The folks at Bleed Cubbie Blue compiled a pretty good bio of Santo, at the same time inking him as #7 in the top 100 Cubs Of All Time. The Cub Reporter also gave an in depth analysis of why Santo should be in the Hall. The offensive numbers demonstrate that Santo was better than five of the major league third basemen currently in the Hall of Fame. The numbers indicate that Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Baker and Boggs (in roughly that order) were better than Santo. Santo has a clear edge on everyone else. [...]

Real Neal's point about 60s managers not recognizing the value of OBP makes no sense.

Just because they didn't understand that it was valuable (which is an oversstatement anyway) doesn't make it any less valuable.

That's like saying:

"Abraham Lincoln lived in a time when most people were racist, so his lack of racism was not valuable then. We didn't realize until later that it was good not to be a racist, so we can't credit him for that." (Not an invitation to discuss whether or not Abraham Lincoln was racist and/or prejudiced, thanks.)

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