Why Ron Santo Belongs in the Hall of Fame (Part 3)
The Hall of Fame, in a sense, has been caught between hops at third base. Third base is a half-and-half position-half of a "slugger's position" like first base or left field, but half of a "glove man's position" like second or short. A good third baseman is expected to contribute both ways, more so than a player at any other position.This, in effect, creates a third set of standards, unique to the position. The Hall of Fame selection system uses two distinct sets of de facto standards. Bobby Doerr doesn't have numbers that would put him in the Hall of Fame if he was an outfielder, but he was a second baseman, so he's in. The same with Arky Vaughan, Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Johnny Bench, Pee Wee Reese and many others. Conversely, the career batting statistics of Rocky Colavito would unquestionably qualify him for the Hall of Fame - if he had been a shortstop. Joe Judge's numbers would be plenty good - if he was a second baseman. Third basemen are neither fish nor fowl; they need a third standard. The system just isn't quite subtle enough to form an intermediate standard, and honor the guys like Santo and Ken Boyer who played a good third base (Santo won five Gold Gloves) and also could hit.Santo seems to have suffered because voters have not had an appreciation of the skills involved in playing third base. The three third basemen most recently inducted (Boggs, Brett and Schmidt) all met one or more of the classic de facto offensive tests for Hall of Fame selection (e.g., 3,000 hits, 500 homers, .300 lifetime batting average, etc.). These tests have not been imposed on shortstops or second basemen or catchers and had not been theretofore uniformly imposed on third basemen (Robinson, for example, met none of them). A third baseman should not need to post those kinds of numbers to get in if he can otherwise establish elite player status, as Santo did. Santo compared to other Hall of Fame Members In 2001, Bill James ranked Santo as the 87th best player of all time (and Brooks Robinson 91st).19 There are 195 players in the Hall of Fame. Thus, if you use James's analysis, Santo was not just a better player than half of the third basemen currently in the HOF, he was a better player than over half of all players currently in the Hall of Fame. Even if you don't buy into James's analysis, it is fairly easy to make a long list of players that are in the HOF who were not close to Santo's level. Santo was better than, among others, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Frank Chance, Burleigh Grimes, Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt, Hughie Jennings, Roger Bresnahan, George Kelly, Travis Jackson, Chick Hafey, Lloyd Waner, Hack Wilson, Ross Youngs, Rick Ferrell, Ray Schalk, Rabbit Maranville, Dave Bancroft, Jesse Haines, Bobby Wallace, Frankie Frisch, Ted Lyons, Nellie Fox, Phil Rizzuto, Bill Mazeroski, Elmer Flick, Eppa Rixey, Enos Slaughter, Tony Lazzeri, Red Faber, Sam Rice, Billy Herman, Jim Bottomley, Lefty Gomez, Rube Marquard, Earle Combs, Richie Ashburn, Kiki Cuyler, Max Carey, Harry Hooper and Vic Willis. And those are the easy cases; James has ranked him higher than Billy Williams, Carl Hubbell, E. Delahanty, Bill Dickey, Joe Cronin, Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda, Carlton Fisk, Robin Roberts, Kirby Puckett, George Sisler, Bill Terry, Luke Appling, Juan Marichal, Gabby Hartnett, Nolan Ryan, Luis Aparicio, Jim Palmer, Lou Brock and Bobby Doerr. It is a common argument that we shouldn't add players to the Hall of Fame simply based upon their being better than current Hall of Fame members who shouldn't have been elected. Kell and Lindstrom were poor selections, and if Santo's case was predicated simply on his being better than they were, I would agree that he should not go in. However, he was not just better than they were, he was better than many other Hall of Famers as well, both third basemen and otherwise. He would be squarely in the middle of the current Hall of Fame contingent from third base. One problem with the concept of players who "shouldn't be in" lies in setting the standard of who should be in, which is quite difficult to do; the Hall of Fame voters have been unable to set an identifiable standard since they first started electing people almost 70 years ago. It is clear that the standard is not at the Babe Ruth/Honus Wagner/Mike Schmidt/Willie Mays/Ted Williams level, which Santo clearly does not meet: if it were, Hall of Fame membership would consist of about 10 or 15 players. As it is, the standard is lower than that; if you consider the records of those who are actually in the Hall of Fame, it is much lower. Santo was better than a number of players currently in the Hall of Fame, and it isn't a small number. None of those people is about to be removed from the Hall of Fame. He was not just better than Kell and Lindstrom. Santo was better than many of those elected, and it's not just the questionable selections; he is not a marginal case. It is incongruous and quixotic to say that Santo shouldn't go in because he doesn't meet a certain standard when a large number (possibly over half) of the current HOF members don't meet that standard either. Although Santo was not as good as Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Boggs or Baker, he is comfortably within any objective rational standard of who should go in. Other Criticisms of Santo There are several valid criticisms of Santo. He faded very quickly and was out of baseball soon after his skills started to slip, before his 35th birthday. As a result he did not suffer through seasons like the ones Robinson endured at the end of his career, which lowered Robinson's career batting average and OPS. Nonetheless, Santo ranks eighth in terms of number of games played at third base. His career was considerably longer than the careers of Kell and Baker. He played a lot more games at third than did George Brett. Also, as noted above, he had more big years at the plate than did Robinson, Kell, Traynor, Lindstrom or Collins. Even if he had extended his career by playing additional subpar seasons past his prime, doing so would not have taken away the big years that he did have. Santo hit considerably more home runs at home (216) than on the road (126), which should lead one to discount his home run stats somewhat. This is also true of Ernie Banks (290 at home, 222 on the road), Billy Williams (245 at home, 181 on the road) and Ryne Sandberg (164 at home, 118 on the road), all Cub Hall of Famers who benefited from Wrigley Field. There are of course non-Cubs in the Hall of Fame who benefited significantly from a home field advantage, such as Mel Ott (who hit 323 homers at home and 188 on the road), Frank Robinson (321 at home, 265 on the road), Jimmie Foxx (299 at home, 235 on the road), Hank Greenberg (205 homers at home, 126 on the road) and Henry Aaron during his years in Atlanta (108 homers at home and 71 on the road between 1966 and 1974, although this home advantage can be seen as reversing a significant home disadvantage when the Braves played in Milwaukee).20 Currently, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro carry some home field advantage in their career home run totals. While one should discount Santo's home run totals a bit because of this, I view this as a mitigant to his Hall of Fame candidacy, not a disqualification. You would have to take away a lot before Brett or Robinson caught him. As noted above, other Hall of Famers have received similar benefits. Also as noted above, his home run stats should also be adjusted upwards on account of the era in which he played. Conclusion Santo was one of the top ten third basemen who have ever played major league baseball. Santo was the best at his position in the major leagues for a ten year period. His numbers fit him squarely in the middle of those currently in the Hall of Fame who played third base, which is an historically underrepresented position. He was a significantly better batter than half of the current major league third basemen in the Hall of Fame. His home run and walk stats exceed those of every third baseman in the Hall of Fame except for Schmidt and Mathews. He has been ranked by Bill James as among the best 100 baseball players of all time. He was better than a large number of players currently in the Hall of Fame, and was possibly better than over half of the current members. He was a good defender and a terrific hitter who had the misfortune to play on a number of bad teams. His exclusion to date from the Hall of Fame has been a terrible mistake. He belongs in the Hall of Fame and should be elected at the next opportunity. References 14 See http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/history/hof_voting/alpha/S.htm 15 Note that Traynor's career fielding percentage at third, .947, was exactly equal to the league average at third for his career. Collins's career fielding percentage at third was .929, while the league fielding percentage while he played was .907. Santo's career fielding percentage was .954, while the league fielding percentage while he played was .948. Traynor led the NL in putouts seven times, in assists three times and in double plays four times. Santo led the NL in putouts seven times, in assists seven times and in double plays six times. Collins led the league in putouts five times, in assists four times and in double plays three times. Traynor's career range factor was higher than Santo's, 3.12 to 3.07, against league averages of 2.82 and 2.58, respectively; Collins' was 3.61 (against a league average of 3.33, perhaps reflecting more "small ball"). 16 Santo did not play well in September 1969, during which time the Cubs lost 13 games in the standings to the Mets. He hit .240 with one home run and 11 rbi in 23 games. He was not the only Cub to play poorly that month. Beckert hit .211, Kessinger hit .192, Hundley hit .162, Hickman hit .229 and Banks hit .186. Holtzman went 1-5 with a 4.46 ERA. Jenkins' ERA was 4.68. Only Billy Williams seems to have played at all well during that fateful month (.278, 6 hr, 13 rbi). 17 For a good history of the Cubs during Santo's era, see http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-williams-santo-cubs-1961-1965/; http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-williams-santo-cubs-1966-1969/; and http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-williams-santo-cubs-1970-1973/. 18 The BBWAA rule on voting is simply as follows: "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played." http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_honorees/rules.htm. The Veteran's Committee rule is similar: "The Committee shall consider all eligible candidates and voting shall be based upon the individual's record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the game." http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_honorees/veterans/rules.htm. 19 There are, of course, other lists. The Sporting News came out with a top 100 list in 1998 which did not list Santo, Baker, Lindstrom, Collins or Kell, but which listed Schmidt (28), Mathews (63), Traynor (70), Robinson (80) and Boggs (95). In 1999, the Society for American Baseball Research (the "SABR") released the results from their "Top 100 Players of the Century Survey" (voted upon by 865 SABR members), which did not list Santo, Lindstrom, Baker, Collins or Kell, but listed Schmidt (16), Mathews (31), Robinson (32), Traynor (70) and Boggs (80). See http://www.thebaseballpage.com/positions/rankings/3B.php. 20 Certain split statistics courtesy of http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2795. Certain splits also set forth in the 1988 Historical Baseball Abstract; see also http://www.retrosheet.org/. ---- The Cub Reporter would like to thank "Dying Cub Fan" for all his hard work and for choosing us to present his article to the public. Final results of the Veteran Committee's ballots will be announced on February 27th. So go spread the word to get Ron Santo his rightful place in Cooperstown either by sending your "comments and suggestions" to the Veterans Committee or sign the online petition at santoforhall.com.
"trout's one of the best, and at this point should probably win over donaldson (and should have more MVPs in the past, too), but the defensive aspect of valuing WAR still needs more tweaking...imo."
that's from my 1st post. there's no suck involved in that. maybe with a few less posts about bullshit that point would have jumped out more.
crunch - you do know that, taking defense out of the equation, Trout has led the AL in wRC+ each of those years, right?
And, if you want to complain about position adjustment (which would be serious #crunchsplaining), he's been in the top 3 in the AL in WC (not park/league/position adjusted). And the only players ahead of him (if there were any players ahead of him) in any of those years have been DHs or 1B that play lousy defense.
But sure - Trout sucks (or at least isn't as good as WAR says). Because it factors in defense and position.
early tim tebow stuff rolling in...
ran a 6.7 60yd (above average)...shagging flies in RF and showed off a rather impressive arm a few times, but average-at best on most of his throws...hit a few over the fence (both fields), fouled or weak contact a few...he's got a touch of power
it'll be interesting to see who bites on this project, if anyone. he probably projected himself out of RF and into LF/1st because of his arm, but unless he can make that power work on a steady basis it'll be hard for him to play himself up anyone's system.
LHP Clayton Richard (released by the Cubs earlier this month) is pitching very well as a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres and could be a good candidate to get traded to a contender looking for a veteran SP before tomorrow night's post-season roster eligibility deadline.
Because they released him, the Cubs are paying most of Richard's 2016 salary (the Cubs are on the hooks for $2M, minus the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary that is paid by the Padres).
it is honestly awesome (for real) that anyone would even have a strong opinion on AZL playoffs. i guess if you invest enough time watching it, you want to see a fair/just playoff structure.
plus, the kids deserve it.
The AZL team with the best record over the course of the full 2016 AZL season and the only AZL team to play .600 ball (the AZL Dodgers) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, and the AZL East Division team with the best record over the course of the full season (the AZL Athletics) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, either.
That's because of the ridiculous "split season" schedule most of the minor leagues now play, a stupid system that rewards mediocrity at the expense of the worthy.
Despite good movement on his fastball, I think location kept him from getting Ks. Left some pitches up and away that got hammered up and away. Then of course Travis Wood gave up the 2-run double in the 7th, but both runs counted against Arrieta.
"i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date."
This level of discourse is #charming.
I would be having this discussion with anyone who (a) blathered on ad nauseum about the topic. (See, "Olt, Mike, not given an opportunity") or (b) responded directly to what I posted (which you did).
Have a nice day.
what would you do without me? aside from having your posting content here cut by 75%+?
i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date.
In this instance, yes, I care more about the result of this big thing that isn't really a big thing.
Fangraphs WAR #s include baserunning and Hamilton is elite at that. He leads in SBs with the 54 and and has an 87% rate which is really good. I'm sure once he gets on base he's able to take the extra base quite often too. Both those things will up his overall WAR value.
The differences between BR and FG WAR is pretty well documented online and thus If there are discrepancies it's fairly easy to figure out why. It's fairly well accepted that BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is better at predicting future value.
i have no doubt at all you quit reading at that point. you're very enamored with outcomes without caring what it takes to get there.
the fact it's exploitable, especially without someone to cover the running game for him, as well it's evolution in how people are testing possible exploits is interesting to some people...to me...i'm some people...hurrah.
some people want to check the boxscore to see who won, some want to know how it went down.
I read it as him saying it's not really that much of a concern and that the one time it really cost Lester, vs. K.C., was an anomaly.
if jeff says it, it's cool...when i say it, it's straight from the mouth of hitler.
aside from the lack of jeff touching on the insane leads runners take and lester's inability to throw if he's fielding, this is a lot of what i've said about the issue.
exploitable, needs his own personal catcher to control his shortcomings, relies on his ability to get outs along with his personal catcher keeping runners in check before things become further exploited...
That would be Rice Krispy Treat