Why Ron Santo Belongs in the Hall of Fame (Part 3)

"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. ------------ Why has Santo been overlooked? Santo did not do well in BBWAA voting when he was eligible for consideration by the writers. He was considered by the BBWAA 15 times, and his best showing came in 1998 (his last year on the writers' ballot), when he received 204 votes (43.13%, well short of the 75% needed for election).14 He was removed from the ballot after the 1980 election (the first time he was eligible for BBWAA consideration) for failing to receive the required 5% vote; he was reinstated to the ballot in 1985. Under the selection process of the reconstituted Veteran's Committee (which has elected no one since being reconstituted in 2001, following the former Veteran's Committee's pick of Bill Mazeroski, and which now considers players every two years), Santo received 56.8% of the vote in 2003 and 65% in 2005, each time short of the 75% vote needed. The former Veteran's Committee did not publish their voting results. When Santo retired, there were three third basemen in the Hall of Fame, Collins, Traynor and Baker, only one of whom had been elected by the BBWAA (Traynor in 1948). Since Santo's retirement, Mathews, Robinson, Schmidt, Brett and Boggs have been elected by the BBWAA, with each one other than Mathews having been elected in his first year of eligibility. The Veteran's Committee added Lindstrom in 1976 and Kell in 1983. Hall of Fame voters had ample opportunity to elect Santo; until Schmidt's first year of eligibility, he was the best qualified third baseman on the ballot. As shown above, at the time he retired he was better than two of the three third basemen then in the Hall of Fame. He was not as good as Mathews, but Mathews was elected prior to Santo's first year on the ballot. He was better than Robinson, but Robinson sailed through on the first ballot (with a 92% vote), while Santo was kicked off for not getting 5% in his first year on the ballot. It is difficult to see why he was overlooked by the voters. In addition to his more obvious hitting skills, such as home runs and Rbi, Santo had skills that tend to be underappreciated: plate discipline and defense. His walk totals and on-base percentages were very high. In addition to his power and ability to hit for average, his ability to draw walks made him a formidable offensive player. He was also the best defender at his infield position in his league for a period of several years. The list of Hall of Fame members for whom extensive credit has been given for defensive accomplishments appears to be small, particularly outside of the shortstop and catcher positions. Yet, while Santo was not as good defensively as either Schmidt or Robinson (and, although it is difficult to truly compare them based on the eras in which they played, for the sake of argument we can take Collins and Traynor as better defensively than Santo, even though each made more errors in fewer games),15 Santo was a very good defensive player at a key defensive position, a multiple Gold Glove winner who still holds National League and Major League fielding records thirty years after his retirement. In addition to being recognized as the best defender at a key defensive position in his league for an extended period, he was clearly better defensively than Boggs, Brett, Mathews and Lindstrom and would appear to have been better defensively, in his time, than Baker was in his. It is difficult to say whether he was better than Kell defensively. Voters may not have adjusted Santo's offensive numbers to account for the run-starved environment in which they occurred. Santo seems to have suffered for having played on teams that did not win pennants or reach the post-season, and in particular seems to have been associated with the Cubs' legendary collapse in 1969.16 Unfortunately, that year was his one real try at a championship, and he and his team fell short. As for not playing on a pennant winner, a good case can be made that the Cub record during his tenure was largely due to factors outside of Santo's control. Was it Santo's fault that the Cubs were as bad as they were for so much of his career? Santo did not play under a manager for five of the first six seasons of his career, but instead played under a "college of coaches" and an "athletic director": was it his fault that his team was as mismanaged as it was?17 It was due to Santo and Williams (and not Banks, who was no longer a great player) that the Cubs finally climbed out of the second division in 1967; for the first several years of Santo's career, the Cubs had few other players who were any good at all. One of the arguments I have seen is that the late 60s-early 70s Cubs already have three Hall of Famers in Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins and Billy Williams, and to put Santo in as well would disproportionately reward a team that did not win. There are several problems with this argument. One, a very good case can be made that Santo was better than Williams or Jenkins, and it is very clear that Santo was much better than Banks during the period that the two played together (the vast majority of Banks' worth as a Hall of Famer having come from his seasons prior to 1964). Two, it is not all that uncommon for teams to have multiple Hall of Famers on them and not win. The Pirates from 1932 through 1935 had four or five Hall of Famers on the team every year and did not win. After winning a pennant in 1962 (and losing the World Series), from 1963 through 1966, the Giants had five Hall of Famers each year and did not win. The White Sox from 1933 through 1935 had three Hall of Famers and did not finish above .500 in any of those years. The New York Giants between 1927 and 1932 had 5 or 6 Hall of Famers on the team each year, but didn't win (they did win in 1933 when they had 4, one of whom was not playing regularly). There are other examples. Finally, the Hall of Fame is about honoring players, not teams.18 While it is relevant to evaluate a player based on his team's success (or lack thereof), one shouldn't penalize a player merely for playing on a team with other Hall of Famers or simply for playing on a bad team. Santo deserves to have his play evaluated on its own merits. Santo was known for being an emotional player, and was also something of a hothead at times, at one time physically attacking Leo Durocher, apparently after having been goaded into it. Santo's unfortunate habit of sometimes clicking his heels following Cubs' victories in 1969 was widely perceived as bush league at the time, and has endured in public perception of him. These incidents may have colored voters' perceptions of him. By contrast, Brooks Robinson was immensely popular with fans and sportswriters, which may have had something to do with him being elected on the first ballot. In The Politics of Glory, Bill James said the following:
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.
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Comments

Here's another wild idea:

Below is a link to a list of members of the Veterans committee.

How difficult would it be to divide up the list among people willing to volunteer, find out a publicly known mailing address for each member, post those mailing addresses, and start a letter-writing campaign on behalf of Santo?

http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_...

p.s.

Beautiful work. These three articles really should be sent to every member of the Vet. Committee.

I ♥ MVN.

BTW, great set of articles, Dying Cub Fan. Shame the server difficulties are overshadowing them.

tony woah-mack close to a minor league deal, supposedly.

somewhere mike fontenot is looking for matt harrington's number to see if there's any more openings at Target.

Anyone remember "Ron Santo Pizza"? They used to sell it at Wrigley Field back in the day. Arrggghhh, it was nearly inedible.

Maybe the HOF voters remember it. That's one explanation.

Womack's deal is with the Nats, right?

yes, the nats...my bad...was distracted by a cubs logo beside his name on the blurb.

have an article on clarification of jeff samninja's contract...

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

Crunch:
"tony woah-mack close to a minor league deal, supposedly."

Tomas Perez and now Womack again??? I thought the only reason we signed all these no-hit middle IF's over the past few years was because Dusty wanted them. Guess not.....

Oh, Womack maybe to the Nats, not Cubs? I thought Dusty didn't get the Nats job...:)

I think the veterans committee only picks the people to be voted upon. They have or will pick Santo and after that the vote is up to Hall of Fame members. In other words, if anything is to be sent it should be sent to Hall of Fame members. Especially that ass-wipe Mike Schimdt who has stated that if a player doesn't get in on the first ballot, they should never get in.

I remember when the veterans committee did vote on the players, Jerome Holtzman, who was a member of the committee, and probably saw Santo play more games than anyone not his teammate, stated that Santo would get in the first year he was eligable for the committee. Unfortunately, they changed the rules before the committee could vote on Santo.

Muskat fluff piece on Rynoball/Peoria Caravan stop.

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/news/a...

Dying Cub Fan - thanks for the great articles. They have given factual evidence, and backup, of what I have felt for many years. I have a pin that I keep stuck in my dashboard that reads simply "Ron Santo belongs in Cooperstown". Now if anyone has the temerity to suggest otherwise, I have a lot more stuff to throw into their ignorant mugs.

http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_...

The final candidates were selected by a BBWAA-appointed screening committee of 60 BBWAA members, two writers from each of the 22 major league cities with one team, and four writers from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles/Anaheim and the Bay Area, each of which has two major league teams. Each writer was asked to select 25 individuals from a list of 200 players and 60 managers, umpires and executives.

The Veterans Committee electorate (currently at 84 members), is comprised of the living Hall of Fame members (61), Ford C. Frick Award recipients (14), J.G. Taylor Spink Award recipients (8) and former Veterans Committee members whose terms have not yet expired (1).

stupid smileys....

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/cubs.asp?id...

14 spring training games on TV this year (10 on Comcast, 4 on WGN)

Jones won't be at Cubs Convention because he's being honored by his high school or something like that....

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2f6gkl

from Mr. Sullivan..

One year later, Prior returns to the Cubs Convention with a bull's-eye on his back and fresh boot marks from a recent kick in the backside from Cubs management.

he thinks the Cubs asking for a paycut is a slap in the face to Prior. Prior must have got signed some jerseys for his kids or got him tickets or something....

I don't think Jones would be at the convention even if the only excuse he could come up with was that he would be reading a magazine that day.

mannytrillo — January 18, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

Oh, Womack maybe to the Nats, not Cubs? I thought Dusty didn’t get the Nats job… :)
------------------

No, put Jim Bowden does have a job with the Nats, and unless he is dealing with Wayne Krivsky, he's almost as clueless as Dusty.... almost.

Danville Joe:

I remember the Ron Santo pizza, and I also remember one game shortly after the introduction of the pizzas when Santo made a critical error and the pizzas were scaled out onto the field like Frisbees.

Good stuff Dying Cub Fan. One minor quibble: You have Sandberg with 135 home homers and 96 on the road, but he hit 282 for his career, all as a Cub.

thnx for the catch djchi, it's fixed....

I think it might be me just being a pussy, but this nine-minute long video of the day we clinched the NL Central back in 2003 brought tears to my eyes... ahh, the days.

ARM:
"I don’t think Jones would be at the convention even if the only excuse he could come up with was that he would be reading a magazine that day."

I agree. I said something similar the other day when I posted about JJ not going to Cubs Convention. Also, I think Hendry doesn't want him there either.

http://fireloupiniella.wordpress.com/2007/01/...

the title I should have went with on Ohman resigning..

Hahaha, the guy that runs Fire Lou Piniella is posting a "bottom 126 Cubs" series. #123 is Todd Zeile.

Nice shot at mr. Positive, Al Yellon.

No Carlos, you're not a pussy...just watching the first 20 seconds actually gave me chills. And I'm not a pussy.

But, whenever I'm feeling Cub-depressed, I break out my video of Kerry Wood's 20 K game.

well I don't know about the shot, but I found it funny. I was going to link up to it tomorrow in the Notes....

it appears the comment #'s are updating again as well as the permalink btw. Word from the powers that be is that they upgraded to some fancy pants server yesterday with all kinds of memory and they're working on the caching business right now...

THE JOE:

I also have Kerry's game on video, digitalized and burned into my brain.

nevermind.....still not updating properly. ugh....

"well I don’t know about the shot, but I found it funny."

I know you know ;) anyway, Al at BCB has been posting a Top 100 Cubs list and I think I read in Ivy Chat that there were some complaints about the list, because most of the players in it sucked or something; that there was no material in the Cubs' history of illustrious players to fill a 100-slot list.

I'm aware of the list, I'm not sure it was really a shot, just more of a satire. ah, whatever.....

DCF, this is a great piece of work. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

It kind of stings though to hear someone say so definitively that Eddie Matthews was a better third baseman than Santo. EM was a truly great hitter, but his fielding was so horrible as to make me doubt whether we should count him as a real 3b. He's more of a 1b/DH type.

Also, I know that we can't use Santo's diabetes as an excuse, but he was just such a tremendous hitter and athlete and doing it at a time when they didn't even know how to really test for blood sugar. If they adjust for park effects, can't we do the same for chronic debilitating diseases?

Nice article about Soriano's signing.

"Hahaha, the guy that runs Fire Lou Piniella is posting a “bottom 126 Cubs” series. #123 is Todd Zeile."

ah...internet...

fire_______.com

feeding furor and hate for no reason but to use the site users for their own ego and/or financial gain.

its funny how fast these sites get registered lately...and the ones that get registered just on speculation of who might get hired...dance little hatemongers dance...

wow.

i just checked out that site...he IS all-ego.

he has a link called "From the guy who helped run out Dusty" that's his "about" page.

is the internet big enough for an ego like that? he actually believes he had an impact on dusty's firing...a pivotal one, nonetheless.

now he's on to his next target for no other reason than it gives him something else to write about that feeds the only audience he knows how to talk to.

Great article, DCF. You included a lot of great information and analyzed Santo's career from a number of different perspectives. Good job!

After reading all three parts of the article, there are two things in particular that stick with me:

1) Santo was not just better than the least of the third basemen in the HOF, but was better than the majority of the third basemen in the HOF;

2) Brooks Robinson is considered by most to be one of the top third basemen of all time. This article showed fairly conclusively that Robinson was a slightly better defender than Santo, but Santo was a significantly better offensive player than Robinson. Even so, Robinson was elected to the HOF on the first ballot with an overwhelming 92% of the vote while Santo received less than 5% of the vote during his first year. That's just amazing.

CRUNCH:

Yes, he's all-ego. But his Bottom 126 list promises to be hilarious. I mean, Sandy Martínez? Brilliant!

You want a complete moron? Visit http://www.fireloupiniella.net/. He wants the guy fired, sure, but do you know why? Cuz he kept Larry Rothschild as his pitching coach. Hmm.

well yeah, the only reason i even posted the 2nd time is cuz i read through both his sites.

he tries to do this humor thing, but objective humor...or even blatent humor...doesnt come through clear when he also rails on real-life issues and his opinions of who's really at fault and what is really going on that's bad.

having both humor and criticism and expecting both to be taken off-the-cuff (cuz some of his anti-dusty rants were dead serious) just dont mix.

it all gets lost in an egotistical mix that lost its focus.

you cant be The Onion ripoff one day and Bill O'Rielly ripoff the next...well, you can, but it just comes off as egotistical rantings from a bored blogger.

I don't know what's with the fireloupiniella.net but the fireloupiniella.wordpress.com guy is pretty much all satire. It seems like he's just having fun with the whole thing.

The part about him being the guy that helped run off Dusty is a joke. The whole thing is tongue-in-cheek. He posts on Desipio a lot. He's not really egotistic.

yes, i see the jokes..and attempts at jokes..but he crossed a line that destroys it long ago.

he put real criticism and real emotions on more than a few of his writings.

he broke a cardinal rule of satire by putting real feelings and critiques in his posts. he even took stances on what changes needed to be done.

it happens to a lot more humor blogs than should happen and it really muddles the message.

you cant hide behind a mission that's been tossed out the window even if the guy still wants to believe he's not crossed the line into the "real world" of criticism.

i mean, im not pissed/upset/etc...but when you start crossing those lines you have a hard time going back and it shows.

wow, that's all I got. And to think it was just a fun little place to go for a laugh this morning. I have seen the light....

its no big deal...just calling it out.

im a big fan of proper roles and representation...i also have an ego. i dont believe either is a bad thing.

i just dont believe you can cross a line then step back behind it and just chalk it up as something it wasnt...especially if its done more than a few times.

ultimately, he's providing content for others to digest. that's just the way i digested it.

also...it really doesnt matter what i think...but since i got an ego and boredom im gonna let the opinions and statements fly.

its no big deal, just a peeve of the mixing of 2 journalism types that really shouldnt mix.

Wow.
Crunch, you obviously feel more strongly about it than, well, anyone else. I think it's humorous. But, maybe I should examine my feelings about it a little more closely.

I think the Braves just snatched up Craig Wilson.

"I think the Braves just snatched up Craig Wilson."

And Schuerholz keeps living on to his hype. He essentially replaced the numbers Adam LaRoche would've given them in 2007 with Craig Wilson, a cheaper player and managed to snag a very good power reliever, giving them the best bullpen in the Majors, along with the Twins.

1 yr/$2 mil huh? Why does Jim Hendry hate good players on the cheap?

M.Barrett was just on ESPN radio. Not much depth, but claims he's 100% from his scrotal injury. On Marquis, hopes Rothschild can get him straightened out...hasn't spoken to him personally yet. Excited about playing for Lou Piniella...blah blah blah. Plugged Cubs Caravan and his appearance at Geno's East tonight 7-9, the 633 N.Wells St location if you want an auto.

"but claims he’s 100% from his scrotal injury"

Is that an actual quote?

If Craig Wilson puts up Adam LaRoche numbers next year, I'll eat my Cubs hat.

Can you tell I that I got a flat tire in the middle of rural Arkansas, this afternoon, while on my way to a meeting?

FWIW, I came in Second for the Fullerton job... Next up, a couple apps at a small school in Jersey, and one in Hawaii!

Thanks to all for reading this and for all the thoughtful comments. I have not posted until now because I wanted to give everyone a chance to read all three installments of the piece before responding to some of the comments.

Thanks to Rob for agreeing to print this and for offering some very thoughtful editorial suggestions and corrections. Thanks to TCR. The VC may very well be voting now, so anything to spread the word would be good.

One poster referred to the Hall of Fame Monitor and the Hall of Fame Standards that appear at the bottom of the baseball-reference.com player pages as evidence that Santo was not HOF-worthy. While it is true that Bill James devised these formulas, and that these formulas have their usefulness, I think that it is seriously misguided to use them to rigidly define who should go into the Hall of Fame and that using them in this way is probably a grave misunderstanding of why these formulas were devised. I believe James devised these formulas as a not-so-subtle critique of the factors that HOF voters seem to have applied in the past. If you’ve read his works on the HOF, you’d understand that he really doesn’t endorse this type of approach. Read the criteria sometime and let me know if you disagree. The Hall of Fame monitor in particular gives weight to .300 BA seasons (with equal weight given to one in 1930 as one in 1968), all-star selections and post-season appearances. The baseball reference website cautions that the monitor is intended “to assess how likely (not how deserving)” a player is to be elected to the HOF. Both formulas ignore more sophisticated types of analysis like OPS. Using them as a litmus test is mistaken.

Another poster suggested that, in comparing the career OPS+ numbers of Robinson and Santo, I was somehow punishing Robinson for his longevity. With all due respect, I don’t think that this criticism is warranted. While my math skills are weak, I did a quick back of the envelope comparison of the ten best OPS+ seasons of Santo and Robinson. Santo’s average OPS+ in those ten seasons was 138.4 (versus a career OPS+ of 125); Robinson’s was 120.4 (career 104). Whether you use the ten year average number or the career number, the fundamental point remains; Santo created a lot more offensive value than Robinson did.

Further, many of the years at the end of Robinson’s career were years which brought him continued accolades (which boosted his HOF monitor score). He started for the Orioles until he was 38. He was an All Star when he was 35 and 36 (and got MVP votes when he was 35) despite having an OPS+ of 90 each year. It seems fair to count his OPS in those years if he seems to have benefited from those years in terms of people’s overall estimation of him.

This is beyond the scope of my piece, but it is really interesting to me how much love Brooks Robinson got from the writers and the fans throughout his career. It would make the topic of a nice paper (one that I won’t write). Robinson is 17th all time in MVP award shares. His offensive record is easily the least substantial of anyone near him on that list. Robinson finished in the top 4 in MVP voting in the AL four times. He finished third in MVP voting in 1960 when he had an OPS+ of 108. To me, his stats just don’t support that type of support. He made the All-Star team a lot; for the first part of his career, he did not really have any competition in the AL (the best other third basemen seem to have been Max Alvis, Frank Malzone, Don Wert and Rich Rollins for most of the ‘60s) until the Twins moved Killebrew back to third in 1969 and Sal Bando emerged. Even after that point, and the subsequent emergence of Nettles, Rodriguez, Melton, etc., Robinson continued to get Gold Gloves and All Star votes even as his performance faded. On the other hand, Santo always had some competition at third base in the NL, with Boyer and Mathews around at the start of his career, and Tony Perez and Dick Allen for a while, and even Joe Torre who moved to third for his MVP year and Deron Johnson in 1965. I’m not sure how to take all that support for Robinson: either you discount it or you think that, despite the numbers, the All-Star, MVP and Gold Glove voters were really onto something even if the numbers don’t support it. In the face of that level of sustained and consistent support I think you really have to consider the latter rather than discount it out of hand.

That was you on the side of the road, Trans? I'm the guy that called you a dirty name and threw the beer bottle at your head.

Jersey, Hawaii, Jersey, Hawaii, Jersey, Hawaii.....how do you choose?

I know, you actually have to be offered the job first, but damn.

30 minutes from NYC ain't bad, but yeah, Hawaii....

JD - lol.... but in defense of AR, I had several friendly offers of help, that was very nice to see.

"If Craig Wilson puts up Adam LaRoche numbers next year, I’ll eat my Cubs hat."

LaRoche's career OPS: .841
.274/.337/.504

Wilson's career OPS: .834
.265/.354/.480

LaRoche is three years younger than Wilson; both have (or had, if you believe LaRoche's 2006) extreme platoon issues and have had some playing time problems in the past.

For 2007, LaRoche and Wilson will offer basically the same production.

Make that "IN 2007, LaRoche and Wilson will offer basically the same production."

1. Wilson won't get enough ABs to be able to match LaRoche in "counting" stats

2. LaRoche's platoon split is less damaging to his overall numbers, since there are fewer LHPS

3. Wilson's performance is heading in the wrong direction, LaRoche's in the right....

All that said, I like Wilson, wish we would have signed him. But either over 600 ABs or even just in how they get used in a real season, I'll take LaRoche

Dying Cub Fan:

Do you have a blog?

Laroche will have a healthy park advantage at PNC as well being a lefty....

Oh. So that wasn't you.

I actually don't know why you'd want to leave. Hawaii's very expensive.

When I'm not professoring, perhaps I could moonlight as a hula dancer.....

Do you have the hips for that, though?

JD -- you've got mail. Trans -- you'll have mail shortly.

Carlos is prophetic.

Can you tell me who will win this year's American Idol?

Legs, yes. Butt, yes. Hips, no.....

Reading up on Hawai'i Pacific University, I find this baseball-related note from wikipedia

The university's athletic teams are called the Sea Warriors. They compete in the Pacific West Conference as part of the NCAA's Division II. The school's most successful athletics program has been its women's volleyball team, which has won multiple national championships. It also has nationally recognized cheerleading and dance teams. Hawai`i Pacific University's first venture into intercollegiate athletics came with the formation of the men's basketball team.

Junior 3rd Baseman Danny Lee, runs the "Team Shower" program, where members of the public can shower with the Men's baseball team for a donation to the campus LGBT club. Lee is an enthusiastic supporter of this club, belonging to the G, B, and T categories.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this...... wondering if someone is having some fun at Mr. Lee's expense?

in regards to comment #1 about getting a campaign going for Santo...

I'm in but I really don't have time to spearhead it. I would also change "post those mailing addresses" to privately email the few trusted folks who've agreed to help.

Of course, I have no idea where you'd get their addresses from...

What we really need to do, is figure out who the Veterans' committee members were, who voted for Santo last time, and which ones didn't. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that if we found the right address at the HOF, we could send mail there, and it would get passed on to the voting members.

We just need A. to figure out who we need to target, who needs to be converted to the light, and B. find enough Cubs fans here who would be willing to write a few letters, or hell, just print out DCF's three articles and stuff them in an envelop.

off to battle traffic, you've got mail transmission......

Looking at the 2005 results, 80 of 83 eligible members voted. That means that 60 votes were needed for election. Santo got 52 (tied with Gil Hodges).

Santo needed eight more votes. 11 votes to be safe if all 83 people vote in 2007.

Here are the current voting members

Hall of Famers (61)
Hank Aaron
Sparky Anderson
Luis Aparicio
Ernie Banks
Johnny Bench
Yogi Berra
Wade Boggs
George Brett
Lou Brock
Jim Bunning
Rod Carew
Steve Carlton
Gary Carter
Orlando Cepeda
Bobby Doerr
Dennis Eckersley
Bob Feller
Rollie Fingers
Carlton Fisk
Whitey Ford
Bob Gibson
Monte Irvin
Reggie Jackson
Fergie Jenkins
Al Kaline
George Kell
Harmon Killebrew
Ralph Kiner
Sandy Koufax
Tom Lasorda
Lee MacPhail
Juan Marichal
Willie Mays
Bill Mazeroski
Willie McCovey
Paul Molitor
Joe Morgan
Eddie Murray
Stan Musial
Phil Niekro
Jim Palmer
Tony Pérez
Gaylord Perry
Phil Rizzuto
Robin Roberts
Brooks Robinson
Frank Robinson
Nolan Ryan
Ryne Sandberg
Mike Schmidt
Red Schoendienst
Tom Seaver
Ozzie Smith
Duke Snider
Bruce Sutter
Don Sutton
Earl Weaver
Billy Williams
Dave Winfield
Carl Yastrzemski
Robin Yount
Ford C. Frick Award Recipients (14)

Marty Brennaman
Herb Carneal
Jerry Coleman
Gene Elston
Joe Garagiola
Ernie Harwell
Milo Hamilton
Jaime Jarrin
Harry Kalas
Felo Ramírez
Vin Scully
Lon Simmons
Bob Uecker
Bob Wolff

J.G. Taylor Spink Award Recipients (8)

Murray Chass
Charley Feeney
Peter Gammons
Jerome Holtzman
Hal McCoy
Jack Lang
Ross Newhan
Tracy Ringolsby

Former Veterans Committee Members (1)

John McHale (term expires after 2007 election)

and here is the generic email contact form, not so useful

Trans, you've got mail. As for AI, Eric Chapman will win it. I don't watch the show, but I've read enough about Chapman to convince myself that he'll be the next Taylor Hicks.

Um, my comment wasn't posted.

What comment?

finishing my thought....

basically, if we could identify the 30 VC members who did not vote for Santo, and get 11, perhaps even as few as 7 or 8, to change their vote (with no one else deciding to STOP voting for Santo), Santo would be in the hall....

Can anybody think of an easy, or even sort of easy way of identifying the 30 members in question?

hmm. in 2005, voting was done by mail, in January....

May already be too late. Ugh, I meant to get started on this months ago, and never did. I have failed The Santo....

"FAN SUPPORT: Fans wishing to voice their opinion in support of their favorite candidates may do so in two ways: by sending a single letter to Hall of Fame Veterans Committee, 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, or by logging on to baseballhalloffame.org and sending us an e-mail."

That's as close I as got. Voters' identities, IIRC, are not revealed after a vote.

Hey that guy that the Cub's couldn't hit off of in '06 just signed for 3.25 million.

Capuano GS W-L CG IP BB K ERA BAA
---------------------------------------------------
vs. CHC 3 3-0 2 26.0 2 16 0.00 .196

As far as I know, voting results by individual VC members are confidential, perhaps to discourage efforts like you are considering. Several have come out in the past and said that they supported Santo (like George Kell and possibly Brooks), but I am not sure that there is any way to check definitively. Morgan seems to have made some indication that he voted yes. Sandberg wasn't eligible to vote last time, but I seem to recall him being on record as saying he'd vote for Ron.

I seem to recall that Morgan was a yes vote, and Schmidt seems to have moved from the no to yes camp.

But you would think (well, I would think) that the hometown newspapers of all these voters would have a reporter who asks them how they voted, would get an answer more often than not, and write a column in the local paper..... Most of these guys seem to have no problem pontificating about how important their vote is....

Okay, how do I do the fixed-width font with the whitespace? I thought it was code/

It IS code, but it's not perfect, at least on the message boards I frequent its never been perfect.

Again, very nice job DCF.

You contradicted yourself a bit in this last piece, and the statement "Santo was the best at his position in the major leagues for a ten year period." Should probably be re-written to say "over a ten year period, he was the best third basement", because the way you wrote it makes it sound like he was the best in each of the 10 years,(and I guess we should both write ten instead of 10 if my English teachers weren't lying to me). Thanks, for the conclusions on your OPS + comparisons. I think they prove the point that Santo benfitted from his short career, though. You could look at it in a couple of different ways, but the gap between them is 4% less when you look at their top 10, than over the entire course of their careers.

Very impressive piece. I still don't put him in the Hall, but my HoF has about 40% of the population as the real one. I would think that Santo may be experiencing a bit of the same prejudice that Sandberg did, but as you pointed out, he got kicked off the ballot a long time before Jeff Kent was driving in 130 RBI's. I also still really dislike using OBP as an argument to make a hall of famer for any player who played prior to 1995.

Ryno:

You got the right tag. The problem is that HTML doesn't allow formatting using the space key; it'll strip out all but one of the spaces. Instead, you have to use the character code for a space: & nbsp; (minus the space between & and n).

Neal,

Thanks for the comments. I agree that the sentence in the last paragraph regarding the ten years should be clarified along the lines you suggest. He was not the best third baseman in even in the NL for each of the ten years. Torre was better in 1971; Tony Perez was better in 1970. As alluded to in my previous comment, Deron Johnson was the TSN All Star third baseman in 1965 (and finished ahead of Santo in MVP voting), although I think Santo had a better year.

I do not understand your comment regarding using OPS for players prior to 1995. Just because it may not have been recognized in any prior period does not mean it was worth any less. Surely part of the reward in the types of analysis we all seem to do is in identifying players in the past that were not recognized enough in their own times using newer forms of analysis. Furthermore, it is not clear to me that even today managers and GMs (other than a few exceptions) recognize the importance of OBP; one of my continuing criticisms of the Cubs today is that they keep building teams around low OBP players.

I haven't seen this yet, so you all should enjoy this gem from Jim Leyland:

Well that’s a good question because he played terrible. And what had happened was we got reports from our scouts, and I had known him from the past. We were kind of in a panic situation. We had lost Polly and we needed someone who could come in and play second, and play shortstop as well because Carlos needed some time off. And up to this point it looks like we made a mistake.

So Neifi’s going to have to prove us wrong this spring because has not been a good acquisition up to this point.

But that was my fault, and the scouts. And I like said we had to have somebody. And I hope Neifi’ll prove us wrong. I think he’ll be much better than what he showed last year because he showed absolutely nothing when he came over.

For what it's worth, www.mvn.com/mlb-cubs is timing out while mvn.com/mlb-cubs seems to be working okay.

Any word on whether WGN Radio will carry any of the activities from the Cubs Convention tonight?

I remember listening online to some interviews with Juan Pierre and others last year... not sure if anyone from Chicago knows if they will be there live tonight as well.

The only way to argue Santo should be in the HOF is to compare him to the other weak links in the HOF. Comparing him to the best of the best, he just flat out falls short. The Hall of Pretty Good would include Santo. The Hall of Great might even include him also. The JD HOF or the Cubs HOF should definitely include him. But the Baseball Hall of Fame should allow him to pay $15 bucks, the same as you and me, and force him to stay behind the ropes.

That said, I'd take him over Aramis any day. Even today, he'd have as much range as Ramirez has.

"Very impressive piece. I still don’t put him in the Hall"

Well, then why did you compliment the writer of the articles?!! He OBVIOUSLY FAILED to convince you--which was the entire point of writing them. So these articles were a waste of time on you.

But make no mistake about it, RON SANTO belongs in the Hall of Fame. Some of the things keeping him out are (1) the reputation amongst his peers, writers, and fans of the late 60's as a HOTDOG, (2) the irrational standards all third baseman are held up to by HoF voters that make this position underrepresented in the Hall, (3) the incredible collapse of 1969 for which he is unfairly blamed and (4)the HoF has already inducted Billy Williams, Ernie Banks and Fergie Jenkins from Leo Durocher's Cubs teams that won no pennants and simply closed the book on that era.

I didn't think www.mvn.com was even a working domain, although I imagine it just redirects you.

http://mvn.com/mlb-cubs should be everyone's bookmark by this point. Word is that they've got the server going and are working on the caching nonsense to get the permalink comments working properly and the comment #'s to update.

although in good news, the comment # just updated for me after I wrote that.

Trot Nixon to the Indians 1/3 deal.

but not after that last one...

gotta love the Leyland quote, the link says the radio interview it came from didn't make it sound so bad.

BBB.....what is your argument for him not being in the HOF?
He is better than most of the 3B in the HOF, excepting Brett, Schmidt, and Matthews...maybe Killebrew if considerd a 3B. He was the best overall 3B in the NL from 1960-1973.
His mix of power and defense is not that common at 3B, unlike OF or 1B.

WSCR saying Hendry has an announcement at press conference prior to convention today.

Rumor is Z has been signed to a long term contract (no number of years yet) for atleast $ 16 million a year.

oh really? If someone can confirm it, I'll post something....

http://boisehawks.com/news/?article_id=407

"I know one thing, [Carlos] Zambrano will be my Opening Day starter," Piniella said of the right-hander, who will kick off the season for the third straight year.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2z8kam

here's the story on the press conference, nothing about Z though

Key words-

WSCR

Rumor

But Offman is saying it during all the breaks.

DCF,

"I do not understand your comment regarding using OPS for players prior to 1995. Just because it may not have been recognized in any prior period does not mean it was worth any less"

Let me put it this way. Say you are a car salesmen, selling Fords. Your boss tells you that he doesn't care which cars you sell, just get as much sales $ as possible. You find that you can sell Explorers quickly and you have $2 million in sales, leading the dealership. Then it comes time for year end bonuses. You go into your boss's office and he says 'even though you lead the dealership in sales, you're not getting a bonus.' Why not? 'Because we we only make $7 a sale on Ford Explorers, and that is all you sold. Jim here sold $1 million worth of Excursions, and made the dealership $120,000. He is going to get a nice bonus."

That's why you don't evaluate players with criteria that their managers didn't deem important, when determining whether they should be in the HoF. Santo's job was to drive in runs, not take walks. When he was walking instead of hitting doubles or HR's, his manager (most likely) wasn't pleased. He was failing at his job, as defined by the manager.

Hall of Famers should be the players who were recognized as the very best in the game, at the time they were played. If you want to be in the HoF, you're career shouldn't have to be dug up and polished off like a diamond in a coal mine, it should be obvious when you're playing and when you retire that you're a Hall of Famer.

I wasn't around when Santo retired. Was everyone saying, 'We'll see you in Cooperstown in 5 years, Ronnie'?

[...] Santo falls short again Today, the Hall of Fame Veteran's Committee released their vote totals and Ron Santo missed election by five measly votes.  The Veteran's Committee, which for the last three elections has been made up of nothing but Hall of Famers, again failed to elect anybody in their third go-around of voting.  It's a damn shame, as Santo is almost indisputably the most worthy player not already elected to the Hall.  The reasons are plentiful and the web is littered with reasons why Santo should be enshrined, so I'm going use this space to try to figure out why he's not.  Since I'm not Hall of Famer, I can't possibly know what they're thinking.  But if I had to guess, here are three reasons he hasn't made the grade. He's not as good as Mike Schmidt.  Schmidt went on record a few years back stating that he likes the eliteness of the Hall's members, and he's not voting for anybody he feels wasn't as good as him.  While I agree that election to the Hall shouldn't be taken lightly and only the best of the best should be in, I think he's setting the bar a little too high.  If everybody in the Hall had to be as good as Mike Schmidt, there'd only be about 12 or 15 guys total with plaques in Cooperstown.  He was that good.  This shouldn't be held against Santo, though.  While he may not have been as good as Schmidt, Santo was ranked by Bill James as the 7th best third baseman of all time, ahead of 5 others already enshrined.  He's essentially Brooks Robinson with a better bat but no postseason, and Brooks went in on the first ballot.  So it's not like we're talking about electing Steve Buechelle. His announcing.  As a Cubs fan, I think he's great.  He's like a fan in the booth, and when you turn the game on you can instantly determine the score just by listening to the tone of Ron's voice.  When he groans, "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...", you know the Cubs have had a long afternoon.  If there's a little bounce in his voice, you know the Cubs are up.  I'm sure non-Cubs fans can't stand him, but to me he's like my crazy uncle Ron, the Cubs fan that lives and dies with every pitch.  To the critics I say lighten up.  You don't have to be a great announcer to be a hall of famer.  Remember Magic Johnson?  Remember Joe Montana?  Those are just a few examples of "all-time greats" that couldn't announce worth a lick.  Elect him as a player. He played for the Cubs.  Leo Durocher's Cubs, highlighted by the 1969 squad, never won anything yet they already have three Hall of Famers in Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, and Fergie Jenkins.  Does a team that never won anything really deserve four Hall of Famers?  Some people don't think so.  So that's why Ron will have to wait until 2009 before he's up for election again, and with his diabetes you never know if he'll make it that far.  It will be a sad, sad day if he gets elected posthumously.  He's been eligible for 30 years, and I think at least five veterans will come around and change their vote eventually.  Why not give the man a little glory?  Do it, before it's too late. Go Ron! Published Tuesday, February 27, 2007 8:04 PM by MikeJ Filed Under: Cubs Thoughts [...]

Ron Santo deserves to be elected to the baseball hall of fame.
He was a superb power hitter, he hit for average, hit homeruns, drove in runs walked alot and had a very good obp.
He was a marvelous fielder winning 5 gold gloves.
He was also a 9 time allstar.
I watched the remarkable movie This Old Cub about his life wow!.
Iam a Chicago Cubs fan!
I have been one for 15 years now.
I think Ron Santo derserves his place in cooopers town.
Go Cubs!

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