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Ron Santo is back on the Hall of Fame ballot

Nov 3, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT

Ron Santo

After getting totally boned by the Hall of Fame for decades, Ron Santo will once again be up for consideration as part of the new-look Veterans Committee process.

At this year’s Winter Meetings Santo — and 10 other former players — will be up for votes as part of the “Golden Era” slate of candidates (there are now three eras which get considered in turn every three years). The other nine: Minnie Minoso, Buzzie Bavasi, Jim Katt, Allie Reynolds, Ken Boyer, Luis Tiant, Charlie O. Finley, Gil Hodges and Tony Oliva.

Of that crowd I think Santo and Minoso belong.  Of course, I won’t have any confidence in the Veterans Committee — new look or otherwise — until they get it right for once.  For years and years it let way too many unworthy guys in and then, in an overreaction, for too long passed over worthy candidates.

Put in Santo and Minoso, folks.

  1. leftywildcat - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Also put in Hodges, Boyer and Oliva, too, please.

    • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      Here, here. Boyer was as good as Santo both as a hitter and defender. Besides, Boyer won an MVP as well. Short career as he didn’t play in the bigs until his mid-twenties.

      • Alex K - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        Boyer- .287/.349/.462 slash .310 wOBA 73 fielding runs 63.3 fWAR
        Santo- .277/.362/.464 slash .366 wOBA 22 feilding runs 79.3 fWAR

        Boyer was a better defender and a worse hitter. Santo was beter all around.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Every year I hear about Ron Santo and a small group pushing for him to be put into the Hall of Fame. Every year, for the last 20+ years. He doesn’t belong. He doesn’t have the numbers.

    I know I am going to get replies like “there are other players in the Hall already that have similar stats as Santo”, etc. I’ve heard these arguments for years. What separates many of them from Santo was that they were part of multiple-WS championship teams. HOF writers take that stuff into account, you know.

    Look at the guys stats in the below link and tell me why he’s Hall of Fame worthy. Hell, I’d put Fred McGriff or Dale Murphy in before this guy and I don’t think they are Hall of Fame caliber either.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/santoro01.shtml

    • Bill - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:54 PM

      He’s one of the ten best players ever to play his position. That’s pretty much all anyone should need.

      • Alex K - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        I would say he’s one of the five best to ever play 3B.

      • Bill - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        I don’t think you can quite get there. No question that Schmidt, Brett, Boggs and Mathews were better. I think Chipper was better, too. That’s five, and if you put A-Rod as a third baseman, that’s six. Santo’s somewhere in the next few, somewhere among (or just ahead of or just behind) Frank Baker and Brooks Robinson. Still very much top 10, and still a no-doubt Hall of Famer.

      • Alex K - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:04 PM

        You’re right. I was being a total homer when I said that. Looking more closely it would go something like this

        Schmidt
        Mathews
        A-Rod (48.6 fWAR as a 3B best player on this list, this low because he played 8 yrs at SS)
        Brett
        Boggs
        Chipper (fangraphs doesn’t pull him up when you search Larry Jones- weird)
        Robinson
        Santo

        So I actually have Ronnie at 8.

      • 78mu - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:18 PM

        As a Cardinal fan, I will say Santo deserves to be in before Boyer. At his peak years he was as good as anyone in the game, not just 3rd basemen.

        He should have been elected years ago.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        I agree Bill. I also present to you….Scott Rolen.
        .282 AVG./.366 OBP/.494 SLG/.860 OPS/123 OPS+…8 Gold Gloves….
        Alex: I would have to argue that #27 ALSO belongs in the top 10 discussion.

      • shaka49 - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:44 PM

        I’m a believer in a small HOF, and believe only 2 or 3 players per position…per era. I’m a big Ken Boyer fan, and emotionally I keep telling myself that Boyer was better, but that just isn’t true. Ken Boyer isn’t a Hall of Famer. Ron Santo….is. But Santo is just barely in the top 10. Rolen is better.

      • Alex K - Nov 3, 2011 at 4:05 PM

        Rolen was a better defender, but not as good a hitter. You have to remember that Rolen put up that line in a historically great offensive era, and Santo’s was during a terrible offensive era.

        The fact that Santo and Rolen have almost identical numbers says a lot about how good of a hitter Ronnie was. I don’t say that to disparage Rolen who is either 9 or 10 on my list. He wasn’t as good as Santo, however.

        Rolen- 73.9 fWAR (in parts of 16 seasons)
        Santo- 79.3 fWAR (in parts of 15 seasons)

      • Bill - Nov 3, 2011 at 4:20 PM

        I’m not comfortable with these matter-of-fact pronouncements of value based on fWAR or any other one measure (my co-blogger Jason wrote very well about that here just a couple hours ago, actually: http://www.platoonadvantage.com/2011/11/arrogance-and-uncertainty.html). By rWAR/bWAR, Rolen and Santo are within 0.3 of each other. I think it’s clear that both were great, both deserve induction, and both [were/will be] screwed over by the writers.
        And there’s a lot of room to argue who was better between Santo and Rolen, Santo and Boyer, etc., etc., and the argument itself was fun, but just throwing out one set of numbers and saying “X has more wins according to [stat], so X was better than Y” doesn’t really do it.

      • shaka49 - Nov 3, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        Alex, how close is *this*:

        Rolen (thru age 36): .282/.366/.494, 123 OPS+, .370 wOBA, 125 RC+, 73.9 WAR
        Santo (thru age 34): .277/.362/.464, 125 OPS+, .366 wOBA, 124 RC+, 79.3 WAR

        Rolen has 1200 less plate appearances, 3 more GGs, but Santo has the counting stats.

        Rolen played in pitchers parks (the Vet, and Busch), Santo played in Wrigley…which is why the adjusted rates are so close.

        I think we are both wrong…I can’t tell you that Rolen was better, but it appears difficult to digest Santo being better either.

      • Alex K - Nov 3, 2011 at 5:24 PM

        Bill- If that was directed at me I wasn’t saying “so and so has more fWAR so they are better” I was saying who I thought was better the reasons why I think they are. fWAR is one of the tools I used. Notice the only time I used exclusively fWAR was when I wasn’t saying one guy was better than the other (the Banks and Santo post).

        Santo was the best hitter of the three. Rolen was the best defender. I think Santo was enough better offensively to say that he is the best player out of the three of them.

      • shaka49 - Nov 3, 2011 at 5:52 PM

        Alex – I just showed you how Rolen and Santo had similar batting careers. The adjusted statistics are almost identical. Rolen played in a offensive era, but played in hitters parks, while Santo played in a pitcher’s era in a hitters park. Hence the 123-125 OPS+.

        Creating Runs and Saving Runs being the name of the game, according to BBRef, Santo ‘created’ 607 runs (in almost 2 seasons worth more PAs than Rolen) in his career. He ‘saved’ 27 with his glove.

        Rolen ‘created’ 514 runs (again in 1200 PA *less*), and ‘saved’ 148.

        While Santo may have been better with the bat than Rolen was…it wasn’t enough to offset Rolen’s contributions with the glove.

        When push comes to shove, I think the objective analysis shows Rolen was the better overall 3rd basemen.

      • Alex K - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:19 AM

        Shaka, That’s the beauty. We can disagree and it’s okay. They were so close that I don’t think either of us are totally wrong here. I’m a Cubs fan so I lean to Ronnie. Either way, they are both great and deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

    • Detroit Michael - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:00 PM

      Ron Santo – 66.4 b-refWAR, no World Series appearances, not in Hall of Fame
      Ernie Banks – 64.4 b-refWAR, no World Series appearnaces, in the Hall of Fame

      Both were tremendous players at their peaks. Nate Silver once wrote an article stating that Santo was the best player in baseball at one time.

    • Alex K - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      Ron Santo- 79.3 fWAR
      Ernie Banks- 74.1 fWAR

      Santo was a great defensive thrid baseman, also. That counts. He hit for power and got on base, those are probably the best attribute a hitter can have. From ages 23-30 Santo was worth over 5 wins a year. Then at 32 he was worth over 6 wins. Ron Santo was great at playing baseball.

      If you like narrative he was a diabetic who was overcoming the disease to be one of the best players in baseball. Ron Santo is a Hall of Fame baseball player.

    • mkd - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      Santo is hurt by the fact that he was done at age 34. But even without the slow fade that other great players enjoyed (during which they continued to accumulate lifetime value), Santo is still the sixth greatest third baseman of all time. Look at the accumulated WAR by age in particular and tell me he doesn’t belong:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1011447,1011055,1001124,1001400,1011586,1008236

      As for Murphy and McGriff? Fine players both, but Santo blows them away:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1011447,293,1009355

      Hope those links work.

    • lazlosother - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      Of course he belongs. if you could understand the info provided at the link you posted, you wouldn’t have posted.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:43 PM

      Jesus dude. For someone who argues against a players HOF credentials based the Bill James formula of player comparison, you just ignored everything else James has ever said!

      Let’s see: Fred McGriff, 1st baseman, majority of career in one of baseball’s biggest era’s for offense.

      Ron Santo: 3rd base. Played during an era that produced very little offense.

      You compare players to others in the era in which they played. And how did Santo stack up against his competition?
      9 time All-Star
      Top ten in:
      bWAR: 7 times
      BA: 3 times
      OBP: 7 times
      Slugging: 7 times
      OPS: 5 times
      Runs: 3 times
      Hits: 4 times
      2B: 4 times
      HR: 7 times
      RBI: 8 times
      …all as an excellent defensive 1st baseman.

      • thefalcon123 - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:45 PM

        I should note to that McGriff and Murphy have debatable HOF cases. I don’t agree with them, but they are better players than a lot of guys in the hall.

    • The Common Man - Nov 3, 2011 at 4:43 PM

      It would be nice if you made an actual argument with evidence, but then we wouldn’t be able to laugh as loudly. So thanks for that.

      It’s not Santo’s fault that the Cubs, aside from him, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, and Ernie Banks sucked. If you want to reward a player for having famous teammates, may I suggest you begin championing the cause of Frankie Crosetti. Otherwise, let’s stick to what a player did on the field.

      Also, Dale Murphy didn’t play on any championship teams either. I wonder what makes him so special.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 3, 2011 at 5:45 PM

        I hear you Common Man. My only argument was….no one was mentioning anything about Scott Rolen until I posted something in response to Bill. Then…Alex said he was in his top 10 (when he didn’t include him initially)…and several others seem to agree (but only after I posted his numbers). Please know I am NOT “tooting my own horn” so to speak as I could give a crap. I am only pointing out that people seemed to forget #27 and the fact that he could/can flat out hit and there are only 2 third basemen in the history of the game with more Gold Gloves. Additionally, as someone else mentioned…he played the bulk of his career in Pitcher friendly parks (which makes his hitting numbers all the more impressive to me).
        Disclaimer:
        As a Cardinals fan and someone who grew up in the town where he used to work out during the offseason in Indiana…I am biased. But his number certainly speak for themselves.

      • Alex K - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:14 AM

        I only put 8 people up on that original list. So it’s not like I forgot about Rolen, I just didn’t get to where I would put him.

  3. Detroit Michael - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    I’d vote in Santo clearly, Minoso and Boyer probably.

    I have a soft spot for many of the the others, especially Jim Kaat, but I suspect just those three are fully qualified for the Hall of Fame.

  4. Alex K - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    I think Santo should have been in the HOF years ago. He should have been voted in by the BWAA.

    It will make me both happy and sad if he gets in. Happy because he deserved it. Sad because he won’t be here to enjoy it.

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 3, 2011 at 5:50 PM

      I agree with everything you posted Alex. Long overdue…and unfortunate WHEN he is elected he won’t be around (physically) to enjoy it. But he will know when it happens. My guess…he has a toast shortly after it is announced.

  5. awriterorsomething - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Santo belongs. He was one of the two best third basemen of his era. The other is in. He belongs.

    Minoso belongs.

    The others, not so much

  6. Sandlapper Spike - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Allie Reynolds was just one vote short of being elected three years ago. It wouldn’t surprise me if he gets in this time (although the makeup of the committee will be a bit different).

    I would vote for Santo and maybe Oliva or Kaat.

  7. Joe - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Watch Bavasi get elected and nobody else.

    I think Santo clearly belongs. He is hurt by his short career, but hurt more by the fact that he played in the worst era for offense since the Deadball Era. He was easily a better player than Murphy and McGriff.

    I’d love to see Tiant in the HOF, but (compelling evidence that he was a better pitcher than Catfish Hunter aside) he doesn’t really belong. He’s a HOF character, though.

  8. bennoj - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Buzzie Bavasi gets disqualified merely for being the father of Bill Bavasi.

    Signed, Mariners Fans Everywhere.

    • Kyle - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:35 PM

      Cosign.

      Santo is a no brainer, I can’t believe we’re even still arguing about it at this point. I’m not as enthusiastic about Minoso

  9. theonlynolan - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Santo should get in. Minoso has an excellent case. Tiant was a better pitcher than Reynolds and probably deserves to be elected. Ken Boyer is very underrated and epitomizes what it means to be a borderline hall of fame player. Interesting ballot.

  10. kaientai72 - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    Ron Santo has to get in. IT is beyond criminal that he is not. Would love to see Kaat get in, but there does not seem to be a big push for him. http://www.notinhalloffame.com ranks Santo at #2 on their baseball list. Kaat though is way lower. I didnlt see a lot of love for Allie Reynolds there or really anywehere.

  11. istillbelieveinblue - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    From an article on Yahoo Sports:

    “Moreover, Santo was actually better than those counting stats indicate. He is hurt by his era — he debuted in 1960 and retired in 1974, meaning that his peak coincided exactly with the Era of the Pitcher. In an era when power was depressed, he had four straight 30-home run seasons and seven straight top-10 finishes in the home run race — his 31 homers in 1967 were actually third-highest in the league. What’s more, he led the league in walks four times between 1964-1968.”

    Ron faced a steady stream of Hall of Fame pitchers throughout his entire career. He was the best 3B is his era. His numbers stack up favorably to those of Brooks Robinson, and in some cases surpass him despite substantially fewer AB’s. Ron Santo belongs.

    “This here is MY Hall of Fame” –Ron Santo when his number was retired at Wrigley

  12. mgflolox - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    They’ll probably get it right this time, unfortunately after he’s passed. Hitters from the ’60s have been criminally underrated by the BBWAA.

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