Blog Entry

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: December 5, 2011 2:14 pm
By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- In a moment that has to be described as bittersweet to the Santo family and Cubs fans alike, former third baseman Ron Santo has been elected into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. He received 15 of 16 possible votes from the Golden Era Committee, comprised of Hall of Famers, executives and media members.

The announcement was made Monday morning at the MLB Winter Meetings.

Santo died at the age of 70 just over a year ago, which is what makes the moment bittersweet. Many felt Santo should have been a Hall of Famer years ago, and now he's been elected after his death.

In a 15-season career, Santo hit .277/.362/.464 with 342 home runs, 1,331 RBI, 1,138 runs and 365 doubles. He won five Gold Gloves, finished in the top 10 of MVP voting four times and was a nine-time All-Star.

The last time Santo was on the BBWAA ballot, he received just 43.1 percent of the vote. He needed 75 percent to be elected. He was then left out by failing to gain enough votes from the Veteran's Committee the following several years. This time around, the Golden Era Committee came through for Santo.

Members of the Golden Era Committee: Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Don Sutton, Paul Beeston, Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gene Michael, Al Rosen, Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell Dave Van Dyck and Santo's former teammate, Billy Williams.

Santo was the only player on the ballot to be elected by the committee. The other players on the ballot were Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant. Executives Charlie Finley and Buzzie Bavasi were also on the ballot.

A candidate needed 12 of 16 votes to make the Hall of Fame. Kaat received 10 votes. Minoso and Hodges got nine, while Oliva received eight.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement:

“This is a great day for baseball and for Cubs fans everywhere. I am thrilled that the memory of my dear friend Ron Santo will be preserved forever in the halls of Cooperstown. As a star player and a beloved broadcaster, Ron was a staple of the Cubs’ experience every single day for decades, representing all the goodwill of both the franchise and the game he loved.

“I always admired Ron’s courage and loyalty, and I miss him very much. Today, I am so proud to know that his contributions to baseball will receive the highest honor. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Ron’s wife Vicki, their four children and their grandchildren.”

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Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:41 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

Santo's problem was he wasn't Robinson, Schmidt, or Mathews.
You are absolutley right, Santo was not Brooks Robinson.  He was better than Brooks Robinson.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:38 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

It's just a shame this took so long.  And so sad that Ronnie isn't here for this!

The problem is statistics.  The game of baseball changes over long periods of time.  The 1960s when Santo played was a pitcher's era.  So, comparing Santo's stats to Mike Schmidt's is meaningless.

You can only compare Santo's stats to other players of that same era.  I got this out of the Saturday Daily Herald:

During Santo's 15 year playing career, only FOUR players had 2,000 hits, 300 home runs, and 1,300 RBIs - Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Billy Williams and Ron Santo.  Between 1960-1974, Santo's 1,331 RBIs ranked fifth.  All ten, except Santo were in the HOF.  Between 1960-1974, only FOUR players had over 2,000 hits and over 1,000 walks - Hank Aaron, Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson and Ron Santo.

On top of the hitting stats, Santo was a top defensive player at his position winning 5 Gold Gloves.  Was he Brooks Robinson defensively?  No.  However, he was arguably the next best thing.

How can the HOF knuckleheads take so long to recognize a player who was one of the top 10 hitters and one of the best defensive players of his era?  You tell me.

This news makes me VERY happy.  I do still feel sad for Ronnie and his family.  You know his family is proud but also stinging from the fact that they know how much this would have meant to Ronnie if he were still here with us to witness this.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:37 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

I guess when someone dies they become a better player?!?!?!?!

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:36 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

Baseball is such a mess when it comes to the HOF.   Whether it's timing or how much they deserved to get, the voters screw it up as much or more than any other sport.

The timing for his selection is a mistake or an admission of the mistake (Santo not getting in earlier).  I'm happy for Santo's family and will always be on the fence about whether or not he deserves to be there, but I'm not really happy about the whole process since he was eligible for selection...again.

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:35 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

1978 - Mathews
1979 - Mays
1980 - Kaline, Snyder
1981 - Gibson
1982 - Aaron, F. Robinson
1983 - B. Robinson, Marichal
1984 - Killebrew, Aparicio, Drysdale
1985 - Brock, Wilhelm
1986 - McCovey
1987 - Billy Williams, Hunter
1988 - Stargell
1989 - Yazstremski, Bench
1990 - Morgan
1991 - Carew, Perry, Jenkins
1992 - Seaver, Fingers
1993 - R. Jackson
1994 - Carlton

That's every possible year Santo could have been elected to the Hall by the BBWAA. He simply wasn't as good as these players.
However, du to the paucity of 3B in the hall, it is nice to see some 3B get recognition. The way the Hall and Vets Vote, you'd think 3B and catchers weren't part of the game.
Santo's problem was he wasn't Robinson, Schmidt, or Mathews.

Since: Aug 31, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:33 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

I think his stats were solid but not at the elite level.  But I do think this is the right move.  It is a shame that he wasn't able to see this himself though.  But his family will enjoy this as they have enjoyed the new statue outside of the bleachers in centerfield.  Ron was a great Cub and has been for the last 40 years.

Since: Jul 31, 2008
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:32 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

the hof is a joke!!!  santo was not good enough to get in when he retired and last i checked his stats havent changed since then.  the only reasons he got in was because all his friends are on the veterans committee, he self grandstanded himself for it and last but not least because he is dead!!!!   

Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:31 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

Many excellent comments here!  The honor is an honor regardless of when it comes.  We all know that there are many deserving players that are left out and that there may be a few questionable ones that are in.  The HOF voting is not a perfected science!  It never will be!  It means a lot that Ron Santo is now in the HOF.  I'm sure it means a lot to his family.  It means a lot to the Cubs organization and it means a lot to Cubs fans.

If he is worthy now why was he not worthy when he was alive?  He was worthy!  His career just wasn't overwhelmingly convincing to voters until now.  It is a different set of voters now.  Writers, veterans, & golden era committee see things differently.  If it was only up to the writers maybe Santo never gets in.  So, for Ron Santo & Cubs fans, would it better that he got in now & through this committee or never at all?

Since: Oct 1, 2007
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:29 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

 Does BETTER LATE THAN NEVER apply here? Yes, for the surviving members of Santo's family and no for the late Santo himself. At least someone or in this case some committee got it right, and most likely Billy Williams raised the issue fervently.  I do remember seeing him play in his later years when the Cubs had a few winning seasons under Leo, a very popular and skilled batsman. Thst number of his should have been retired as well.

Since: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:24 pm

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

Compare Ron Santo's stats (over a 15 year career) to Brooks Robinson (a 23 year career) and they are pretty similar. Look at George Kell (another 3B) and wonder why he is in. Ozzie Smith (and I am a die hard Cardinal fan for 40 years) is in because of defense and cartwheels. They need to look at stats and not have some opinionated Baseball Writers vote. Half of the writers don't even see some these players over their careers. If Blyleven can get in (after his whining about it for years), then Jim Kaat should be in. Compare their stats.

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