Archive - Dec 5, 2008

Besides re-signing free-agent RHP Chad Fox to a minor league contract, the Cubs have signed three minor league free-agents in recent days, including one player who (as things stand now) actually has a legitimate chance to make the Cubs 2009 Opening Day Roster.

On Monday December 8th, the Baseball
Hall of Fame will
announce
the voting results 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. We ran this piece two years ago, but it's lost in Internet limbo and well, Santo deserves it, so we're running it again. Plus,
the voting process has changed this year, as there are only 10 players for the committee to consider, so here's hoping this is the year.


“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.

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