Ron Santo

Ron Santo, HOF. Bittersweet, yet hasn't that been the Cub way in Ronnie's life?

On the day after Anthony Rizzo's first HR (and 2nd game winning hit) as well as the first day of the month that Ron Santo finally gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame...

Ronnie's in. Bittersweet but worthy of shedding a few tears for all Cub fans.

Here's the link to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's site announcement.

The "Golden Era" decision committee was changed to a 16 member group for this vote.  As in the usual Hall of Fame voting, 75% of the ballots were needed. Ron Santo got 15 of 16 ballots which is 94% and in Cub circles officially considered a landslide. He's the only candidate who got in this time. The next most ballots went to Jim Kaat who got 10 votes, Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso with 9 votes and Tony Olivo with 8.

Teammate, Billy Williams, was a member of the HOF voting committee, was quoted saying "we got it done."

The remainder of the committee:

The 16-member Golden Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson; major league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) and Al Rosen (retired); and veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell and Dave Van Dyck. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Golden Era Committee.

Pat Hughes on WGN radio (as I type) says he envisions Ron with a maximally happy look on his face, "like a happy 10 year old kid".

His wife, Vicki Santo, during the same WGN radio interview said up in heaven he's pumping his fist saying, "I got there".

July 22nd 2012 will be Ron Santo's induction date. Heel Clicking optional.

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Thoughts and tears.

#10. Third Base-MAN. Love of Wrigley Field. Putting his favorite charity, JDRF and Juvenile Diabetes on the map to show that athletes can deal with the disease. Ron's partner, Pat Hughes (Ron's been in the booth since 1990). Brant Brown, that gut wrenching, "oh-no" overlapping Pat's "he dropped the ball".  Aw, Jeez.  Entrepreneur and Restauranteur. Ron Santo Pizza. Acapulco Taco Pie. Williams-Santo-Banks. Rebel pal Randy and the real highlight of fantasy camps. Roomie Glen Beckert. Flaming Gamer, Pat: "there's smoke billowing out of the top of his head" (audio link). The classic Jack Brickhouse call was music to my ears: "back, back, back, Hey-Hey, a homer by Santo."  Harry Caray asking Ron, "when you go to bed at night with your lovely wife do you wear your toupee?" Cub captain.  Leo Durocher. Don Young. Belly flop slides into second base. Clicking Heels. Pat Hughes broadcast introduction: "Along with nine time All-Star, five time Gold Glove winner and Cub Legend..."

Ronnie's gone. He slipped into a coma Wednesday and passed away in the early hours of the morning on Friday reportedly due to complications of bladder cancer.

Paul Sullivan has one of the earlier confirmations online but I've listened to WGN radio interviews with David Kaplan and Spike O'Dell reminiscing. Overnight host on WSCR, Les Grobstein clearly struggled with his sadness when he heard the news.

In one of the greatest tributes a son can give his dad, Jeff Santo's movie "This Old Cub" gave us the insight as to just what made Ron tick. Ron Santo was what loving the Cubs is all about.

Thank you to Ron. We are honored that you shared so much of yourself with us.

UPDATE: Rob's thoughts after the jump, just trying to keep all this in one place.

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Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo died last night here in Arizona.

A native of Washington, Santo signed with the Cubs prior to the 1959 season, was brought up to the big leagues as a 20-year old in mid-season 1960 after only one full season in the minor leagues, was immediately installed at the hot corner (replacing Don Zimmer), and never looked back. He hit 277/362/464 with 342 HR over a 15 year career spanning 2243 games. He won five Gold Gloves at 3B (1964-68), and was a nine-time All-Star. He did all this while battling diabetes. He was traded to the White Sox (for Steve Stone and three others) after the 1974 season when the "Durocher Cubs" were dismantled, and spent his final MLB season on the South Side. But his heart always belonged to the Cubs. 

Santo joined WGN Radio as a Cubs broadcaster in 1990, and just recently completed his 21st year behind the mike. While his emotional style of broadcasting irritated some Cubs fans, there is no denying his sincerity. He lived and died with each Cub win and loss. 

Santo had battled numerous physical prioblems over the past few years, including cardiac by-pass surgery, bladder cancer, and complications from his diabetes that resulted in amputation of both legs. He also had to deal with the continual disappointment of not getting elected to the Hall of Fame.

Despite the medical problems and other disappointments in his life (not the least of which was the Cubs failing to get to the World Series), Ronnie always was upbeat and as physically active as he could be under the circumstances. 

I became a Cub fan in 1960 when I was six years old. So Ron Santo and I go back a long way.

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As part of this Cubs history kick that started with Wiklifield, I had this idea of trying to figure out what was the best individual season by a member of the Cubs. As I started pouring through the research I decided that the burden of annointing the best Cubs' season ever was too much for this humble Cubs fan. Now I realize as a blogger and top 10 list-maker, I'm suppose to just present my opinion as fact and not accept any other arguments, but I decided for this instance to enlist the rest of the TCR writers.

I put together a list of 27 great Cubs seasons and put it to a vote and would weigh it MVP-style (10 pts for a first place vote, 9 for a second place vote, etc). The criteria for this list were all the Cubs' NL MVP seasons and Cy Young winners and then the best of the rest based on sabermetric dominance in either WARP-3 or Win Shares (Lee in 2005) , historical signifcance  (Wilson's RBI record in 1930) or place in Cubs history (Sutcliffe in 1984). Now there may have been a few names that deserved to be in that
original top 27 list over some other names, but I'm sure I didn't miss
the top season. As I mentioned in the poll, just think of it as the
NCAA tournament...there's a lot of arguments on who deserved to be in
the original 65 picks, but those that are left out never really had a
chance to win the whole thing. 

The only instruction I laid out for their votes was to use whatever
criteria each writer saw fit. Some of us have a sabermetric slant to
the world, some like MVP trophies, some just remember what we saw and
its impact at the time and so forth and so on. Transmission, Cubnut, Dr. Hecht and myself ended up participating and our ballots are listed at the end of the post. The final results for the readers voting is also at the end. We by no means believe this is the list to rule all lists, but it was an interesting exercise nonetheless. I mean if Arizona Phil or Christian had submitted their ballots, the final results could have been very different. Also, we tend to believe with our eyes and hearts and I don't think any of us saw much baseball before 1950 - and for some of us - not much before 1980. Speaking for myself, I had a hard time giving double credit for a player, generally focusing on what I felt to be their best season, even if they had a second or third great season that deserved to be recognized. But this is more art than science and the final results certainly are skewed by a small sample size.

These past few days I've been thinking. I've had the thought that maybe certain things are true and we need to accept them. For example:

  • Maybe Andre Dawson and Ron Santo really aren't hall of fame players. For the past few years they've done all sorts of changing of the way that the veterens committee elects members and all still come back with the same news for Ron. These are his peers that aren't seeing it. Perhaps we're simply blinded by the fact that we so badly want to see something go well for the guy. As for the hawk, maybe those days in Montreal on the turf cost him his spot.
  • Maybe trading Mark DeRosa, as unpopular as it was from a fan standpoint, was a good idea. You always hear the saying that it's better to trade a guy a year too early than a year too late. We've seen the latter in the last few years with guys like Marquis and we'll probably see it again with someone like Felix Pie. Perhaps Jim Hendry made the right call.
  • Maybe Kosuke Fukudome just needed a year to get used to the big leagues and he really won't suck in 2009. It would be a great help to us and would allow us to keep Milton Bradley as healthy as possible. Perhaps we just need to hold out hope.
  • Maybe Ronny Cedeno will finally learn to not be a retard with the mental errors. After all, we did agree to a contract with him today.
  • Maybe....just maybe...The Cubs will win a World Series in 2009.

Then again, maybe I'm retarded.

Dying Cub Fan, the author of the three-part series on Ron Santo's Hall of Fame merits, returns with a look at the flaws of the Veteran Committee vote.


From Ron Santo’s standpoint, it’s hard to see how the 2008 Veterans Committee voting could have gone any worse, particularly when you compare the results to the voting results announced in February 2007. Due mostly to rules changes, there were 18 fewer ballots cast in 2008 than in 2007. Santo’s vote total this year decreased by 18 votes, perhaps not entirely a coincidence. In 2007, 25 electors that returned ballots did not vote for Santo. In 2008, the same number of ballots did not vote for Santo, again perhaps not entirely a coincidence. From 2007 to 2008, Santo went from being five votes short to being nine votes short, and his voting percentage dropped from 69.5% in 2007 to 60.9% in 2008.

12:18 pm Update: From the Baseball Hall of Fame Web site:

Fans wishing to voice their opinion in support of
their favorite candidates may do so in two ways. By sending a single
letter to the address below or by clicking here and sending an e-mail.

Hall of Fame Veterans Committee
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326

The Hall of Fame does not forward petitions to the voting members, but
makes all correspondence known to any interested voting members as well
as to the Screening Committee members and Historical Overview Committee
members.

12:10 pm Update: Santo and players with whom he shared the ballot--Joe Torre, Gil Hodges, Dick Allen, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Al Oliver, Vada Pinson, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills--will next be eligible for election in 2010.

Only Joe Gordon is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the two Veterans Committees which separately considered pre-1943 players and then the 1943 & after guys.

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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.  You can join the revolution on Facebook as well.


 

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.

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.  You can join the revolution on Facebook as well.


 

Brooks
Robinson

In 1964, third
basemen won the MVP award in both the American League and the
National League. Brooks
Robinson
won in the AL, playing for an Oriole team
that won 97 games and finished third, and Ken
Boyer
won in the NL, playing for the Cardinals, who
won 93 games and the pennant. The Cubs won 76 games and finished
8th. Santo had a better year than either Robinson or Boyer and
finished 8th in MVP balloting. 6

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.

We all know Alfonso Soriano has been dealing with leg issues for awhile. Last August, against the Mets, he pulled up lame rounding 2nd base with a hamstring pull that kept him out of the lineup for a month and prevented him from running the bases aggressively the rest of the 2007 season. During spring training this year, people were questioning why he wasn't running all out. Manager Lou Piniella said in spring training he didn't want his left fielder running much to prevent any leg injuries. Certainly there was enough time for his hamstring injury to have healed in the offseason, so the Cub braintrust knew something wasn't right this season from the beginning in Arizona. This April, he pulled a calf muscle sometime before or after making a signature hop-catch in left field, which cost 2 weeks on the disabled list.

Last night after two days of rest (he didn't play the last game in Houston), Soriano obviously wasn't running normally on what should have been an easy leadoff double to the RF corner where he gimped toward 2nd base and had to do a headfirst slide to get into 2nd safely. Two plays later, Soriano "boldly" took off early on a line drive rope by Derrek Lee which Pirate right fielder Xavier Nady just missed making a diving catch. The ball popped out of Nady's glove letting Soriano score. If the catch was made, it would have been a baserunning blunder. His play in the outfield shows that his running is causing problems there as well. A single by Jason Bay in the bottom of the 1st, which if he had normal wheels would have been his fly ball to catch. It dropped in softly for a single and was ultimately fielded by CF Reed Johnson. In the 4th inning Zambrano and Soriano singled, Theriot walked. After a fielder's choice putting Sori at 3rd base, ARam hit a medium deep fly to right. Although Nady has a strong arm in RF, if Soriano had any confidence in his legs, I am sure he would have challenged Nady's arm, instead Nady's throw was cut off since it was obvious Soriano and his leg wasn't a threat to score. In the 5th, he hit into a double play and even the Pirate TV commentators were showing replays on how funky his running looked while not even making the play at first base close. Soriano was mercifully replaced in the bottom of the 6th by Micah Hoffpauir and as it was a blowout game one wonders if it was the score or Lou's frustration with Soriano's running that lead to that move. The Chicago TV feed had their camera's on the Cub dugout showing the intereaction between Piniella and Soriano where it appeared to me that Lou was trying to get Soriano to fess up and admit that his leg is hurting, although he adamantly denied being injured.

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