The Hall of Fame Case for Ron Santo (Part 1 of 3)

On Monday December 8th, the Baseball
Hall of Fame will
  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 , as there are only 10 players for the committee to consider, so here's hoping this is the year.

Sox Nation: In your opinion, who’s the best player not in the

Bill James: Ron Santo”

Interview with Bill James on RedSoxNation.Net,

has a meritorious case for election to the
Baseball Hall of Fame. There are currently thirteen third basemen2
in the Hall of Fame: , , , , , , , , , , , and (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 , , and ). During that period no player in the
National League drew more walks. 3 He won five
consecutive Gold Gloves at third base, and led NL third basemen in
putouts, assists, chances and double plays in many seasons. He was
among the league leaders in on base percentage and slugging
percentage throughout the 1960s; he finished in the top 10 in both
categories in his league in every season from 1964 through 1967. He
hit more home runs in his career than any third baseman currently in
the Hall of Fame other than Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews. He
combined power and defense to a degree that was unprecedented for
third basemen. He coupled that with an ability to draw walks that
added value in a manner that has often gone unappreciated.

In his 2001
Historical Baseball Abstract Bill James ranked Santo as the 6th best
third baseman of all time; he ranked Robinson 7th. He ranked Traynor
as the 15th best third baseman (behind , , , , and ), Collins 17th (after ), Kell 30th and Lindstrom 43rd.

Santo fits
squarely within the middle of the group of third basemen in the Hall
of Fame. Santo was arguably the best player at his position in the
major leagues for an extended period of time, a dominant hitter and a
great defender. He should be in the Hall of Fame.


One of the
difficult things in evaluating players is determining what statistics
mean in different eras. Yet understanding the context in which Santo
played is important to understanding how good he was, and
understanding what the game was like during the time Collins played,
or when Lindstrom or Traynor played, is important to understanding
what their numbers mean. Santo never hit .379 like Lindstrom did in
1930, or .366 like Traynor did that same year. In what was an
off-year for him, he hit .246 in 1968, the “Year of the Pitcher,”
with 26 homers (6th in the league) and 98 rbi (2nd) when the league
batting average was .243, the average team scored 3.43 runs a game
and the league ERA was 2.98. In 1930, the league batting average in
the NL was .303, the average team scored 5.68 runs per game and the
league ERA was 4.97. In 1930, hit .401, hit .393, hit .386 and hit .383;4 Lindstrom’s high
batting average that year was fifth in the league, Traynor’s ninth.
In 1930, the New York Giants’ team batting average was .319; the
Cubs had a team on base percentage of .378 and a team slugging
percentage of .481. The 106 rbi that Lindstrom had in 1930 did not
rank in the top ten in the league that year; Traynor’s 119 rbi that
year were 8th in the league. In Lindstrom’s other big year, 1928,
the average team scored 4.70 runs per game, the league batting
average was .281 and the league ERA was 3.99. In 1967, the NL
batting average was .249, the average team scored 3.84 runs per game
and the league ERA was 3.38. Santo hit .300 with 31 homers (3rd in
the league) and 98 rbi (7th) that year. Santo and Lindstrom finished
in the top ten in batting average the same number of times, three.
Traynor, Lindstrom and Collins all played before the color line was
broken. Traynor, Lindstrom and Collins did not have to face Koufax,
Drysdale, Marichal, Gibson, et al. in the mid-to-late sixties, or
contend with night baseball. Santo did.

In January 1963,
the strike zone was expanded by rule. After 1968, a year in which
the American League batting champion hit .301, rule changes were
instituted lowering the height of the mound from fifteen inches to
ten and reverting the strike zone to its 1962 dimensions. In the
2001 Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James described the
1963 strike zone change in this way:

The effect of this redefinition was dramatic. The action was taken .
. . because there was a feeling that runs (and in particular home
runs) had become too cheap. Roger Maris’ breaking Babe Ruth’s
single-season home run record contributed to that feeling. The
thinking was that, by giving the pitchers a few inches at the top and
bottom of the strike zone, they could whittle the offense down just a
little bit.

The action cut deeper than anticipated. Home run output in 1963
dropped by ten percent, and total runs dropped by 12%, from 4.5 per
game to 3.9. Batting averages dropped by twelve points. Baseball’s
second dead ball era had begun. (2001 Historical Baseball
Abstract, p. 249)

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

One of the best
ways of trying to assess the historical context of a player’s
numbers is to examine that player’s performance relative to his
contemporaries. Of readily available statistics, the OPS+ stat does
this pretty well. The correlation of OPS (compiled by adding a
player’s on base percentage to his slugging percentage) to a
player’s ability to produce runs has been well demonstrated. OPS+
measures a player relative to the OPS league average on a scale based
on 100. A 100 OPS+ in any year is the league average. When
evaluated in terms of OPS+, as will be shown below, Santo stands out.
Another way of evaluating historical context is by using Win Shares.
Here as well Santo stands out.

As will be shown
below, Santo had a much higher level of peak offensive performance
than every major league Hall of Fame third baseman other than
Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Baker and Boggs. In this analysis, he is
very close to Baker and Boggs, however, closer to them than the third
basemen below him are to him. His career numbers stack up solidly in
the middle of all major league Hall of Fame third basemen as well.


Here are the
career offensive statistics for the ten major league Hall of Fame
third basemen (with Santo included) ranked by career OPS+:





































































































































Santo is behind
only Schmidt and Mathews in career home runs. He ranks behind
Schmidt, Mathews, Brett and Robinson in career RBI, but Brett and
Robinson each had nearly 2,000 more career at bats than Santo.


Santo put up
more big years, relative to his contemporaries, than did Robinson,
Collins, Kell, Lindstrom or Traynor. What follows is an evaluation
of how Santo and the ten current major league third basemen in the
Hall of Fame performed offensively when compared to their
contemporaries, using the OPS+ statistic on a season-by-season basis.

Here are the ten
major league Hall of Fame third basemen (with Santo included) listing
number of seasons with an OPS+ over 110, 130 and 150 (or 10%, 30% and
50% better than league average):


Seasons Over 110

Seasons Over 130

Seasons Over 150













































As this table
shows, Santo had more big years, relative to his contemporaries, than
did Lindstrom, Collins, Traynor, Robinson or Kell. From 1964 though
1967, Santo’s numbers stacked up favorably with the very best
offensive players in the National League; at the same time he was
winning Gold Gloves at a key defensive position. During the ’60s,
Santo was third in the entire National League in RBI, with 937; the
only players with more were Aaron and Mays (Frank Robinson had more
as well, but he was traded to the AL after the 1965 season). Santo
was a dominant offensive player for a sustained period, something
that cannot be said of Lindstrom, Collins, Traynor, Robinson or Kell.
Robinson had one year when he performed at such a level (1964).

Kell, Traynor
and Lindstrom were similar players offensively: despite high batting
averages, none of them had much power and none of them walked very
much. Santo’s power and plate discipline give him a clear edge
over these three players.

The Bill James
Win Shares analysis supports the conclusion that Santo was a dominant
force in the ’60s, having at least 30 win shares in 4 consecutive
years (1964-1967). According to James, a 30 win share season is “in
general, an MVP-candidate season.” (2001 Historical Baseball
Abstract, p. 335
). Santo never won an MVP, but a reasonable
argument can be made that he was the best player in his league in
several years, particularly in 1964 and 1966. Neither Traynor nor
Kell ever had a 30 win share season. Robinson, Collins and Lindstrom
each had one.


Bill James has written several times on Santo’s merits for Hall of
Fame induction. See James, The Politics of Glory: How
Baseball’s Hall of Fame Really Works
, Macmillan (1994) at
343-44; James, 2001 Historical Baseball Abstract, Free Press
(2001) at 541-42. For another piece supporting Santo, see

See list at
There are fewer third basemen in the Hall of Fame than there are
players from any other position, even after giving effect to the
induction of four third basemen in the past ten years (three from the
major leagues and one, Jud Wilson, from the Negro Leagues).

Decade stats courtesy of

Klein and O’Doul were teammates on the Phillies in 1930. Their
high batting averages helped the Phillies to a last place finish with
a 52-102 record. The Phillies scored 944 runs (over six runs per
game), but gave up an astronomical 1199 runs (nearly eight runs per

For an interesting take on the large strike zone era, see


According to Chris Deluca in today's Sun-times "Though Wood told Chicago reporters he was willing to return to the Cubs for a one-year deal, he never conveyed that message to the Cubs. And Wood and Hendry have had a tight relationship through the years, so that message would have been conveyed."

Wood put that out there after the Cubs traded for Kevin Gregg and the Cubs said they were basically done with Kerry. So if it wasn't conveyed during negotiations, it was then. Hendry still refused to pony up for arbitration, so either DeLuca or his source or both are idiots.

I agree Rob, by the way Deluca was the only voter not to have Lincecum in top 3 for Cy Young.

It will always bother me, using contemporary stastical analysis to examine players who played 40 to 90 years ago. You should evaluate players for the HoF on how they were evaluated at the time. It's not the Hall of Stastically Superior Players based on Analysis Begun in the 1980's. It's the 'Hall of Fame'. How many of these guys would have had higher OBP's if their managers told them to have higher OBP's?

So you are saying that hitters before the OBP popularity took fewer walks because they didn't think that being on base was important?

Isn't that obvious?

No, not at all. The all time career leaders in OBP are predominantly from earlier eras: The year-by-year trends don't show any trends like you suggest either: The only things dicernable are that Barry Bonds was an outlier, and that OBP follows the general rising and falling of offensive statistics between eras, but that there is no indication that as pundits began using the stat that players began trying to pad it. In fact, before the homerun era began in the early 1990s, the OBP leaders were actually down following the official recognition of the stat by MLB in 1984 from their levels in the 1970s.

You're trying to look at individual decisions systemically, which is incorrect. League wide OBP's are probably almost directly correlated to the size of the strike zone for a given year. And just because teams now know (besides those managed by Dusty Baker and probably a few other dinosaurs) that OBP is the key ingredient to scoring runs, they also know that it is the key to run prevention as well. So general knowledge of the value of OBP isn't going to show up if you try to look at it like you did.

I wasn't looking at league wide OBPs. I showed the leaders from year to year and the career leaders. We are having a discussion of Hall of Famers. You indicated that we shouldn't look at OBP for those who played before it was a popular stat because those players wouldn't be trying to have a high OBP. I demonstrated, convincingly, that the top players who played before OBP was popular put up equivalent if not better OBP numbers than players who played after. This, in my mind, makes consideration of OBP for potential Hall of Famers from previous eras, such as Santo, entirely valid.

I don't think you're grapsing what I am saying. If you watched or listned to a baseball game for 100 years (one hundred years!), there would very rarely be any mention of OBP, and if there was it was only sort of a curiosity. If you want to build a case for Santo being a hall of famer - build it around how he was measured when he played - good defense, OK, good baserunning - not so much - good power - OK - good BA skills - solid but not spectacular. Good RBI man. If you take the facets of the game that he was judged at when he played, and this is the part that seems to elusive to many - he was a good, occasionally great player. Is the hall of fame for good occasionally great players, who don't have particuarly long careers? No. Now if you throw in his OBP - which I am not denying at all helped the Cubs win a lot of games - or lose them by less runs - he certainly had a streak of great years - However, since no one recognized it at the time - he did not accumulate 'Fame' - thus he is not one of the most famous baseball players and consequently falls a bit short of the Hall of Fame. Maybe I am not playing the game that you and the guys over at BP want to play - but I think it's a silly game. Another way to look at it. Without looking it up, who were the top 10 OBP guys from the 70's? The 80's? The 90's? The '00's? I bet you will do a lot better at listing the guys from this decade than the previous three. And the guys who you do list from the previous three, you're going to know from one of two reference points - a new found appreciation of the value of OBP, which you've discovered over the last five years or the guys who had typically high BA's. Had I asked you in October of 1989 who were the decades best 10 OBP guys, I doubt you could name four - and two are gimmees.

The reason I didn't grasp what you are saying is because you are saying something quite different now that you did earlier. Earlier you indicated that players themselves changed their stats based on what is popular. Now you are saying the stats are roughly the same over time but we focus on different ones. I get what you are saying now. I, however, disagree. We revise how we analyze history all of the time. Quite a few negro league players have been enshrined in the Hall despite not being appreciated or having much "fame" during their time. We have better perspectives and better tools to measure players' value now. I don't see anything wrong with reevaluting performances from previous eras based on these. If you truly believe it's about "fame" and popularity, then you maybe wouldn't want to do this. I think the Hall is for honoring the players who played the game the best. If we can show that some guy who played long ago is in fact one of the best players ever but was overlooked during his time because the ways of measuring players' values was myopic, then I say do it. Also, I cannot name the top OBP people from most of those decades because I was not alive then, but that's not the point. If you want to cling to antiquated ways of examining and comparing players, that is fine with me. But absent the OBP discussion, I think you are way off with Santo. You say this: "However, since no one recognized it at the time - he did not accumulate 'Fame' - thus he is not one of the most famous baseball players and consequently falls a bit short of the Hall of Fame." and this: "he was a good, occasionally great player. Is the hall of fame for good occasionally great players, who don't have particuarly long careers? No." I disagree with those two points. He was a NINE-time All-Star and 5-Time Gold Glove Winner. This sounds like he was in fact recgonized at the time and did have some "fame" during his playing days. Being an All-Star for a decade doesn't to me mean he was occassionally great. Let me put this another way. Can you name players from the 1980s and 1990s that made 9 or more All-Star Games? I also don't think long careers should have anything to do with it. You basically just contradicted your own point. You said it was about fame and not padded stats by a long career. So by your own argument being GREAT and FAMOUS for 10-12 years would be better than being occassionally great and having a long career. Oh, and here is a list of those players who were All-Stars in 9 years or more durin their career: Hank Aaron, Roberto Alomar, Luis Aparicio, Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Wade Boggs, Barry Bonds, George Brett, Rod Carew, Steve Carlton, Gary Carter, Roger Clemens, Roberto Clemente, Dave Concepcion, Bill Dickey, Joe Dimaggio, Bobby Doerr, Carlton Fisk, Nellie Fox, Jimmie Foxx, Bill Freehan, Steve Garvey, Tom Glavine, Joe Gordon, Goose Gossage, Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson, Billy Herman, Elston Howard, Carl Hubbell, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, Randy Johnson, Al Kaline, George Kell, Harmon Killebrew, Barry Larkin, Fred Lynn, Mickey Mantle, Juan Marichal, Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Mark McGwire, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Joe Morgan, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Mike Piazza, Kirby Puckett, Manny Ramirez, Pee Wee Reese, Cal Ripken Jr., Mariano Rivera, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez, Pete Rose, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, Mike Schmidt, Red Schoendienst, Tom Seaver, Gary Sheffield, Enos Slaughter, Ozzie Smith, Warren Spahn, Joe Torre, Arky Vaughan, Ted Williams, Dave Winfield, and Carl Yastrzemski. I guess if you think Santo looks more like Garvey and Torre on this list then you would think he is not a Hall of Famer. I think he looks more like the Hall of Famers on this list than those few that are not (or won't be). I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

"Quite a few negro league players have been enshrined in the Hall despite not being appreciated or having much "fame" during their time. " White guilt. I am not changing what I am saying, I am just tryint to illustrate it to you differently. Let me try yet again. In 2008 a 5th batter is much much much much much less likely to be taken to task by his manager for taking a two-out walk with runners on base than a fifth place batter in 1965. In 1965 walks were a good thing for one player - the leadoff hitter - for everyone else, they were supposed to get hits and RBI's - not walks. That's generalizing a little, but really not that much. If you talk to some of these middle of the order hitters you hear things like 'expanding the strike zone with ducks on the pond' they were told that their job is to drive in runs , not to take walks. If your job is to drive in runs, and you're taking walks, you're not doing your job. If you're not doing your job, how are you a HoF player? Now that you want to change the discussion to something else, that he was an alll star 9 times. Based on that, it makes a pretty good case for him being a HoF'r. My rule of thumb is 10 times makes a HoF'r.

You do change what you say, quite a bit actually. Is it about stats, about fame, about respect by managers during the time? Pick one. If your manager is stupid and is telling you to do something counter-productive to your team, and you don't do it, but are in turn, a more productive player over your career than other players - then why punish the guy because he didn't follow the myopic, counter-productive views of the day? Maybe he was doing his "job" which was to produce and help the team win, it just wasn't realized until later. But it really doesn't matter. You've put up a strawman. It's not like Santo was great at OBP and not great at stats valued at the time. I mean read the 3-part article being posted on this website. It's pretty clear he was one of the best players of his era and of all time at his position based on however you want to measure it. If your cut-off is 10 All-Star game appearances for the Hall of Fame then Maddux, McCovey, Campanella, etc. would all be left out. I will say once again, if you think the Hall of Fame should be much more restricted than it is now, and you have higher criteria for the Hall of Fame than I do, then we can just agree to disagree. But if you agree wih the majority of those in the Hall of Fame belonging then by any measure Santo should be among them.

No I didn't change what I said. You tried to change the topic, which I was nice enough to address for you, but I never changed what I said. I will be very clear here: In 1965 #5 hitters were judged by three things: 1. How many RBI's they had 2. How many HR's they had 3. Their Batting Average They were judged by their GM's that way, by their managers, by the sports writers and by the general public. Ron's job was to drive in 150 runs a year, not to take 100 walks and drive in 98 runs. Bitch and moan about it, but those are the facts. Was it a good idea that his job was defined that way? No. But the context of the coversation is not Hall of WARP3 or Hall of OPS+, it's Hall of Fame and no matter what you say, walks were not valued as highly in the 1960s as they are today, so Ron's accomplishments don't stand out as well. Have you ever heard of the 'Triple Crown'? Notice how it doesn't include Slugging or OBP?

A couple other things. Maddux didn't go to 10 ASG's because he didn't want to. I don't like the LCD method of arguing Hall of Fame candidates. If you put Santo in, now here's another guy who lowers the bar for the next third basemen who people think should be in. .277 BA? My guy hit .282! 342 HR's? My guy had 355, both better than Santo, so he should be in - etc.

I'm not sure where 1965 got into the conversation or #5 hitters, but wtf?

Ron's job was to drive in 150 runs a year, not to take 100 walks and drive in 98 runs. Bitch and moan about it, but those are the facts. Was it a good idea that his job was defined that way? No. But the context of the coversation is not Hall of WARP3 or Hall of OPS+

when has anyone ever been expected to drive in 150 runs a year?

and Santo batted 4th for most of his career and most of 1965, he finished 8th in RBI's in the NL that year, which was 3rd best on the team.

during his peak of '64 to 70, he finished, 2nd, 8th, 10th, 7th, 2nd, 2nd, 7th in RBI's in the NL. I'm sure there's somewhere on the web that would tell you who had the most RBI's during that period or the 60's and he'd be up near the top of both lists (the entire decade of the 60's might be tough since he only played a half season in 1960).

The biggest problems for Santo making the Hall aren't his stats, it's that he was widely considered the 3rd best player on his team, the 2nd best third basemen of his time and his career was cut short because of diabetes.

Oh, so he was a cleanup hitter who never lead the league in RBI's and that's his claim to being a HoF'er? You're making the case worse, not better. "The biggest problems for Santo making the Hall aren't his stats, it's that he was widely considered the 3rd best player on his team" No. That's 100% wrong. The biggest reason he doesn't make the HoF now is because he was widely disliked. The biggest reason that he didn't make the HoF with the BBWAA is because he never lead the league in a triple crown category or won an MVP. Take a look at Wiscgrad's list of 9 time all-stars, how many can you say the same thing about? You are right about one thing. His career being cut short due to the ravages of diabetes effected his total stats, and that hurts him as well. I am not even arguing that he shouldn't be a HoF'er - I am just pointing out why he's not.

Hank Aaron 1, 10 Luis Aparicio0,0, 9 SB titles Ernie Banks 2,4, Johnny Bench 2,5 Yogi Berra 3,0 Wade Boggs 0,5 Barry Bonds 7,5 George Brett 1,3 Rod Carew 1,7 Steve Carlton 4,10 Gary Carter 0,1 Roger Clemens 6,16 Roberto Clemente 1,4 Dave Concepcion 0,0 Bill Dickey 0,0 Joe Dimaggio 3,6 Bobby Doerr 0,0 Carlton Fisk 0,0 Nellie Fox 1,0 Jimmie Foxx 2,9 Bill Freehan 0,0 Joe Gordon 1,0 Goose Gossage 0,0 3 saves titles Tony Gwynn 0,8 Rickey Henderson 1,0, 12 SB titles Billy Herman 0,0 Carl Hubbell 3,7 Reggie Jackson 1,5 Al Kaline 0,1 George Kell 0,1 Harmon Killebrew 1,9 Mickey Mantle 3,6 Juan Marichal 0,3 Eddie Mathews 0,2 Willie Mays 2,4 Joe Medwick 1,5 Johnny Mize 0,8 Joe Morgan 2,0 Stan Musial 3,9 Mel Ott 0,7 Kirby Puckett 0,2 Pee Wee Reese 0,0, 1 SB title Cal Ripken Jr 2,0 Brooks Robinson 1,1 Frank Robinson 2,3 Ryne Sandberg 1,1 Ron Santo 0,0 Mike Schmidt 3,13 Red Schoendienst 0,0 1 SB title Tom Seaver 3,11 Enos Slaughter 0,1 Ozzie Smith 0,0 Warren Spahn 3,16 Arky Vaughan 0,1, 1 SB title Ted Williams 2, 14 Dave Winfield 0,1 Carl Yastrzemski 1,5 So there you have it. If Santo gets elected this year, he'll be the first position player elected who played 9 ASG's and never lead the league in a triple crown category, or won an MVP, other than catchers and middle infielders and one closer.

If your criteria is someone has to lead the league in a triple crown category or win an MVP to get in the Hall of Fame, then that's your perogative. I think there are many ways to measure a players value and I prefer to use all of them when evaluating their Hall of Fame credentials. When I do so, I see Santo in it. I also think that he was doing his job for the time or he wouldn't have been hitting clean up, winning gold gloves, ranking in the top 5-10 in the league in major statistical categories annually, elected to 9 all-star games, etc. Those all seem like perfectly reasonable ways in which to judge a player against his contemporaries and whether he was doing the job expected of him.

You're making the case worse, not better.

I was just pointing out how you were making up shit.

No. That's 100% wrong.

I'm glad you've deemed my opinion 100% wrong and that you've got a survey from the writers and now Vet Committee that proves those are the reasons.

But I do agree, he wasn't particularly liked by the writers from my understanding.  Didn't player, manages and coaches select the ASG during his time? He couldn't have been that disliked by his peers.

I think we all understand your points, many of us disagree, some don't. There's a lot of good reasons for Santo be in the Hall, a few for why he shouldn't. Obviously enough people agree with you at this point, so you got that going for you.

"White guilt." turn off the talk radio. there's more to the negro league HOF voting than that. there's been huge loot and time dedicated to picking apart box scores, newspapers, and history on whole to figure out how to exactly handicap what's going on. you're pissing on the work of 100s for decades with your canned answer, there. seeking out the reasons why buck oneil is not in the HOF while some of his peers are will lead you to a better answer than the one you feel comfortable with.

Re: #15 White guilt? Oh, Neal, Neal, Neal. ~sighs~ How about black talent? Or perhaps there were no great black ballplayers before Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron & Ernie?

Actually, it seems fairly clear that Santo is among the most famous players of his time. Look at all the fan support he has for his Hall bid. It's the writers and veterans holding him up. But it's really not so much the Hall of Fame is it is the Hall of the Best Baseball Players. Santo was one of the best ballplayers of his time, and we shouldn't ignore his OBP. Just because the analysts of his time handicapped their understanding of the game by not considering that facets of baseball doesn't mean we should do the same. Our guest columnist has made a very, very strong case for Santo's inclusion in the Hall of Fame. I still don't think he'll make it, but he should be there considering who is already there.

One of the things I found out when researching OPS is that Branch Rickey and Allan Roth (who did stats for the Dodgers) did an article in Life magazine in 1954 that suggested that OBP was more important than batting average, and it was based on statistical analysis that they had some people at Princeton do for them based on about 20 years of major league data. The importance of OBP has always been the same. People have noticed it to different degrees throughout history. Rickey was noticing it more than 50 years ago. The Life article is reprinted at BBTF:

That formula is wacked. It's got Runs scored - runs allowed = how good you are. It is a better illustration of how inventive Rickey was than that he knew the value of OBP, compared to what the A's did in the 1990's.

Well, as an old fart friend of mine said to me while we were watching Ronny play one day, "You know, he ain't no Brooksie maybe, but he is one fine mutha fucka ballplayer." Sometimes stats get in the way a bit. He was damn good in his day, and that's all that matters to me. Analysis has its first four letters there for a reason, sometimes.

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  • crunch 7 hours 36 min ago (view)

    spring training TV is usually fluid...adding and subtracting broadcast games...

    first cubs TV (as of now) is March 3 (wednesday) on ESPN at 3pm EST.

    radio broadcasts available for almost every game that's not televised.  the cubs get going on monday and some other teams will start the day before.


  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    dj snelton's left elbow is screwed up...6 weeks rest then re-evaluate.

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  • Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    AAA leagues really need to play through the month of September, because with September rosters being limited to 28 instead of 40, players will need to be moved back & forth between MLB and AAA throughout the month of September instead of just through the month of August. 


  • Mike Wellman 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    I get you, SW. Here in Des Moines, Cardinal fans flocked to I-Cub games when Memphis Redbirds were in town. That won't happen in '21 and even if it does in '22 & beyond it won't be as frequent as when they were in the same division. Not that I'll miss seeing Cardinal gear @ our ballpark...


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Ervin claimed by Braves. So we lose a potential future (and also current) asset in exchange for one year of a very mediocre Jake Marisnick.

    This team has no direction at the moment.


  • Sonicwind75 3 days 5 hours ago (view)

    As a midwest kid now living in Texas, new scheduling is a bummer.  Only get a chance to drive and see Cubs once every 3 years with interleague.  Really looked forward to those games in Round Rock and the one season in San Antonio.  I understand it makes more sense in the big picture, just selfishly disappointed.


  • Cubster 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    Barry Foote bobble day! Cool!


  • Mornington Crescent 4 days 8 hours ago (view)

    They also gave away Larry Craig bobblefoot dolls as a promotion.


  • crunch 5 days 38 min ago (view)

    alcantara passes through waivers and is assigned to AAA.

    marisnick contract final, phllip ervin (OF) DFA'd


  • Hagsag 5 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Yes they did.


  • crunch 5 days 3 hours ago (view)

    welcome to the "big time" st paul saints...they built a nice park, the fans showed up, and they go from indies to AAA (with a bit of $ help from the twins for part ownership).

    billy murray is a part owner of the group that owns the saints, btw.


  • Mike Wellman 5 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Hagsag, the River Bandits made the cut tho, right?


  • Craig A. 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Could have an option year remaining.  Bleacher Nation walked it back, per the link above.


  • Hagsag 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Living in the Quad Cities area, I look forward to hopefully coming to Des Moines to see the I Cubs a few times this summer.


  • CubbyBlue 5 days 6 hours ago (view)



  • CTSteve 5 days 7 hours ago (view)

    It was time.