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Ron Santo has been elected to the Hall of Fame

Dec 5, 2011, 11:25 AM EDT

Ron Santo

The Veterans’ Committee just announced that the late Ron Santo has been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Santo was eligible as part of the new “Golden Era” ballot, which considered candidates from the 1947-1972 era. Others eligible included Minnie Minoso, Buzzie Bavasi, Jim Kaat, Allie Reynolds, Ken Boyer, Luis Tiant, Charlie Finley, Gil Hodges and Tony Oliva, but Santo was the only one to get the required number of votes.

12 votes were needed to secure election. Santo received 15 out of 16 votes. Kaat fell just short with 10 votes while Minoso and Hodges each received nine.

Santo’s election is considered long overdue by most. One of the best third baseman of his era, he had a .277/.362/.464 batting line over 15 seasons in the majors (14 seasons with the Cubs, one with the White Sox) to go along with 342 lifetime home runs and 1331 RBI. Santo’s highest vote total for the Hall of Fame was 43.1 percent in 1998, which was his last year on the ballot. It’s nice to see the Veterans Committee right a major wrong, as he was one of the best players at his position not in the Hall of Fame, but it’s truly a shame that he didn’t live to see the day.

  1. mvp43 - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    I hate the process for the baseball HOF. All these years he wasn’t good enough………and now he is? Bunch of crap.

    • El Bravo - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      yep, my thoughts exactly.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      I’m not even sure what you are arguing here, that it’s crap because he wasn’t good enough to be in the HoF or it’s crap that it took him this long to achieve enshrinement?

      • mvp43 - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:14 PM

        I think the entire process in which players are nominated and elected is flawed. Santo has always been a borderline player as far as the writers go. He was very vocal about his desire to get in and that turned some people off. Players should be elected based on their stats, offensive and defensive. He was probably the best all around player at his position other then Brooks Robinson.

        No matter what ones opinion is on a players credentials, I think its really a black mark on the process and the game itself, when a player is year after year denied entry and all of sudden dies and mysteriously gets 93% of the vote? What makes him more worthy now? the fact that he’s dead?………….Once a player retires, he can’t really do much to improve his stats. Baseball should give these players the courtesy of actually enjoying the award.

      • CJ - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        ahem, perhaps you haven’t heard of one Michael Jack Schmidt?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        Santo has always been a borderline player as far as the writers go. He was probably the best all around player at his position other then Brooks Robinson.

        He was borderline, but probably the second best all around player at a position? I maybe taking crazy pills but wtf?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:51 PM

        holy formatting fail batman, good to see we can nest quotes though =\

      • Glenn - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        Eddie Matthews?

    • marshmallowsnake - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      Agreed…and the hall became certified laughable when they voted Jim Rice in. It is no longer the hall of fame…but they hall of, hey, he was pretty good!

      • philliesblow - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:09 PM

        and played in a major market

      • psousa1 - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        Jim Rice was a dominant player for 10 consecutive years. 10 years. A decade. If we never had a steroid era he would have been in a long time ago. He and Tony Perez would not have had to wait as long as they did. Perez got in before Rice. It should have been the other way around. A few things factored into this (my opinion only): Rice was nasty with the media and they hated him for it. The Reds campaigned hard in the late 90’s to get him in. Nobody did that for Rice until the current ownership did about 6 or 7 years ago. Then these writers, who think they are the guardians of everything holy, who have a hall of fame vote realized this guy put up huge numbers for 10 years that cannot be compared to the steroid era. Rice waited too long

      • Kevin S. - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:53 PM

        Jim Rice was a dominant player for three consecutive years, with a fourth tacked on later. He was a glove-brutal corner outfielder that barely got on base and only looked good because he had better teammates on base in front of him and a joke of a left field that vastly inflated his power numbers.

      • thefalcon123 - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:17 PM

        “Jim Rice was a dominant player for 10 consecutive years. 10 years.”

        Umm…where to start:

        Rice posted an OPS 30% higher than the league average 6 times TOTAL. You could argue that he was dominant in 76, 77, 78, and 83, the only seasons he placed in the Top 5 in OPS in his league. Rice ranged from average to pretty good to occasionally dominant 12 straight years.

      • bozosforall - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:05 PM

        Jim Rice easily had access to steroids (particularly if the Steelers were using it so heavily during that same time frame). Rice was a doubles hitter who likely got a boost from the same steroids that Tom House admitted using in the early 70s.

    • 76yankeefan - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:11 PM

      Ah, to be a loveable loser, where all mediocre numbers look great. Those are not HOF numbers. If he played for a real team nobody would let him in Cooperstown without a ticket.

  2. Chipmaker - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    YYYYYYAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    It’s about damn time.

  4. Marc - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    A big part of me hurts that he wasn’t alive to see this. The man was a first class individual that provided hope to so many with diabetes, and he deserved to stand there at Cooperstown and be enshrined while living. Congratulations to his family and the Cubs organization, but it’s been a long time coming and in the same breath it was also several years too late. Shame on the HOF and the stubborn veteran’s committee for not including him earlier.

    • 78mu - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      As a Cardinal fan, I agree completely. Somewhere along the line the writers or veterans committee should have done their job during his lifetime.

      I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when you have no unanimous selections by the writers. It must really be easy defending your non-vote for Mays, Musial or Aaron. And the Vets Committee has had more than enough time to examine a player’s performance in the context of their times. The fact that neither group could do their job during while Santo was alive does not speak to their favor.

      • Marc - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:29 PM

        Well said. I completely agree about the whole no unanimous votes thing. To add to that Nolan Ryan is the closest anybody has come to being unanimous, and he isn’t just the all time leader in walks, he leads by 962 bases on balls (over 50% more than 2nd place). That’s ridiculous.

        No really, stop reading and think about that. More than 50% over 2nd place. I don’t care that he played forever because so did the three guys behind him on that list (all four at 23+ seasons, Nolan at 27).

        I mean, the man was awesomee. He has 5,714 more stikeouts than I do, and I’m pretty sure at 64 years old he could still strike out more guys per nine innings than most #5’s out there right now, but come on. By HOF voting percentage standards he’s the greatest ever? Get real. The establishment has the most frustrating knowledge to prestige ratio of any in professional sports.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:13 PM

        No really, stop reading and think about that. More than 50% over 2nd place. I don’t care that he played forever because so did the three guys behind him on that list (all four at 23+ seasons, Nolan at 27).

        To put it another way, as only the best [Joe Posnanski] can:

        So which record is more impressive, if impressive is the word to use? Well, by quick-and-dirty percentages, the walk record is far more impressive. Ryan struck out 17% more batters than No. 2 Randy Johnson, which is amazing. But he walked 53% more batters than Steve Carlton, which is off the charts. To give you an idea just how remarkable that is, look a this:

        • Wayne Gretzky holds the NHL record with 2,857 points.
        • Mark Messier is second with 1,887 points.

        That means that Gretzky has scored 51.4% more points than any player in the history of the NHL. That also means that the gap between Gretzky and anyone else when it comes to points is SMALLER than the gap between Ryan and anyone else when it comes to walks.

        Look at this:

        • Jerry Rice holds the NFL record with 22,895 receiving yards.
        • Issac Bruce is second with 15,208 yards.

        That means Rice has gained 50.5% more receiving yards than any player in the history of NFL. And yes, that gap, too, is smaller than the gap between Ryan and any other pitcher in walks.

    • mkd - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Yeah my thoughts exactly. This just smacks me as the HOF giving a giant middle finger to the Santo family. They wouldn’t let him in while he was alive, but now that he’s dead it’s OK? This is what you do to Pete Rose, not Ron Santo. And for it to be the very first ballot after he died? God it’s just so utterly lacking in class it makes my brain hurt.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      Well said. I have diabetes, and I was always honored that he put so much work and dedication to the disease. He was the Cubs, and there will never be another Ronnie.

      Is it sad that he didn’t get to see this day? Yes, very. But like he said in 2003, Wrigley Field was his Hall of Fame. And it always will be.

      • tmktwo - Dec 5, 2011 at 7:17 PM

        wrigley field is a pisshole!to say the place is to be remembered is like saying the local dump should be remembered.i saw paul mccartney there this summer and the concourses smelled worse than the bathrooms at the local greyhound bus depot.quit trying to make the place seem more than it is.ask any player in the senior circut and he will tell you what a shithole the place is.losing for one hundred years plus is kind of unique.having the worst park in the majors is not.hey cub fans get a grip.santo was at best decent.if he was worthy of the hall he would of been in years ago.when your peers dont vote you in untill you are dead.that shows maybe you might not be deserving.

  5. thefalcon123 - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    It would have been nice if they had gotten him in before he passed away…

    …that bitterness aside, they have finally gotten it right. Congratulations to Ron Santo. Now that Blyleven and Santo are in, who’s going to be the subject of the next years-long hall argument?

    My vote is a 2nd baseman with 2,300 hits, 240 homers, 1380 runs and a 69.7 career name Lou Whitaker.

    • aleskel - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:49 AM

      Tim Raines is right now the top cause celebre. If Bagwell doesn’t make it this year, he might take over the top spot.

    • hackerjay - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      It’s a travesty that Lou fell off the ballet in just one year. Him and Trammel are both more then deserving to be in the Hall.

    • paperlions - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      Yeah, Whittaker and Sandberg were very similar players in terms of over-all production (though they didn’t arrive at that production the same way)….yet one guy fell off the ballot after 1 year and the other is in the HOF…..must be the WGN effect.

  6. aleskel - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    It’s an absolute disgrace that Santo wasn’t able to enjoy this honor himself, but hopefully his family will get some joy out of it.

    So, who can we blame for Santo not making it during the BBWAA voting? Because, knowing nothing, I’m just going to go ahead and blame Murray Chass.

  7. cubsrice - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    This makes me happy. I’m sure the family is happy too, albeit a tad displeased that it was such poor timing.

  8. fearlessleader - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Congratulations, Ron. Sorry the HOF voters couldn’t pull their heads out in time for you to enjoy this honor while you were still alive. You richly deserved it.

    Jim Katt = Jim Kaat, I assume?

    • D.J. Short - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      Sorry, typing quickly. Fixed!

    • pjmitch - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:42 PM

      You assume correctly. You are a sharp one to pick that up!!!

  9. blueintown - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Tears of joy. Congratulations, Hall of Famer Ron Santo.

  10. spudchukar - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Third basemen have certainly been dissed by the Hall for many years. The only issue including Santo, is that should open doors to other equally qualified 3B of the era. It is hard to include Santo and not Boyer.

    • apcig - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      Boyer does not belong in the Hall — and I’m a Yankee fan. Congrats to the Santo family, but I dont think he gets in if he played for another team, didn’t just recently die, and was well-connected in the game. The steroid era is going to bring a lot more borderline elections.

      • The Rabbit - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:04 PM

        apcig…I believe you have confused the two brothers.
        Clete who I had the pleasure of knowing and was a great guy did not have HOF stats; however, his older brother, Ken, who is most known as a St. Louis Cardinal was an NL MVP with some solid career stats. He should certainly be in the HOF discussion.

  11. Detroit Michael - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Congratulations to Ron Santo’s family. Like many other commenters, I think the honor is long overdue and that it’s too bad that Santo wasn’t voted in while he was alive.

    I’m surprised that Jim Kaat enjoyed more support than Luis Tiant. Tiant’s statistical case, other than career “wins,” is better, Tiant had a lot of style, and Tiant probably had a higher peak. They both had a bit of a mid-career crisis too.

    Someone earlier argued that the Hall of Fame because certifiably laughable when they voted in Jim Rice. Rice is a poor selection in my opinion, but that person is ignorant about the Hall’s history. The veterans committee selections (e.g. Lindstrom, Haines) when Frankie Frisch chaired the committee were quite poor and the product of favoritism. Hall selections have been much LESS questionable in recent decades on the whole.

  12. royalsfaninfargo - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Gil Hodges should have been in before Santo.

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      Gil Hodges who:
      Scored 33 fewer runs, had 333 fewer hits, 70 fewer doubles, hit for a slightly lower BA, got on base slightly less while playing at first base in a good hitters era as compared to third base in a pitcher’s era.

  13. Old Gator - Dec 5, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    I never met Ron Santo. I wasn’t sitting at a booth at Girodano’s Pizza on Lincoln when he didn’t come in and notice the young son I don’t have anymore. My ignis fatuuous of a child’s eyes didn’t get wide with amazement and he didn’t elbow me a couple of times and whisper “that’s Ron Santo!” Santo never noticed his obvious delight and never came by the table, mussed the boy’s hair or spontaneously offer him a signed baseball, didn’t flash his trademark smile (if he ever had a trademark smile), wave goodbye and leave.

    That’s my Ron Santo story. Regardless, he should have been in the hall a decade ago.

  14. bozosforall - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Sympathy vote. Just like Jim Rice before him.

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Okay, I’m diving in…

      First off, how was Jim Rice a sympathy vote? I mean, no way in hell he belongs in the hall of fame, but I don’t think anyone voted for the guy because they felt bad for him or anything.

      Secondly, Ron Santo is among the top 6 or 7 third baseman of all time. It seems to me that if only 6 players in baseball history were better than you at your position, you probably deserve to go to Cooperstown

    • blueintown - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      What a stupid statement by the aptly named bozo. Why didn’t he get any sympathy votes after he had his legs hacked off?

      • Kevin S. - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:59 PM

        bozo only exists on these boards to bash the Red Sox. There are plenty of Yankee fans here who are positive about their team and take an active interest in the goings-on of the league. We have nothing to do with that jackass.

      • bozosforall - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:02 PM

        Cry me a river, kevin. Not my fault, you other Yankee fans would rather kiss Red Sox butts instead of paying them back for all the years that they took shots at the Yankees. Payback is a beyotch as far as I am concerned.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 5, 2011 at 10:23 PM

        Or maybe I don’t have an obvious inferiority complex about my team’s rival the way Red Sox fans did for almost a century and you apparently do now. Has nothing to do with kissing their asses.

    • mabunar - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      I love how everyone points to Jim Rice during these discussions. How come it’s never Tony Perez?

      Rice had higher OPS, OPS+, and more HRs than Perez…even though Perez played 7 more seasons and was for the most part a 1B.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        Probably because the Rice induction, and the media battles waged over it, is fresh in everybody’s mind. Perez got in at the turn of the century, and without Joe Morgan on the airwaves telling everybody how awesome he was, he’s faded from memory a bit.

      • Detroit Michael - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:07 PM

        I don’t disagree with your larger point that Tony Perez and Jim Rice were both rather generous Hall of Fame choices. Rice’s induction is more recent, which is I think why he frequently is singled out in these discussions.

        However, your specific point is wrong. Perez played until age 44 and having a lengthy career decline phase that tends to drive down, not improve, one’s career rate statistics. In particular:
        Jim Rice OPS+: 128
        Tony Perez OPS+ through age 36 (when Rice’s career ended): 128

  15. vanillakokakola - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    “I’m getting older, and I don’t have that time, and with diabetes — I mean, I’m not worried about it, but, you know, I want to be here when it happens, if it does,” he said.

    Ron Santo – October 2008

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/04/sports/baseball/04santo.html?pagewanted=2

  16. raysfan1 - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Congratulations to Ron Santo’s family, sorry he couldn’t have lived long enough to enjoy it.

    I would have also liked to see Kaat and Minoso get in too; hopefully someday they will.

  17. ikedavisnose - Dec 5, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    I guess better late then never but this was way too late.

    Anyway congrats to Santos’ family on this honor and and congrats to Ron Santos on this amazing honor

  18. dadawg77 - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    If you want to compare Jim Rice and Ron Santo lets go to Baseball-Reference

    Jim Rice:
    Black Ink Batting – 33 (50), Average HOFer ≈ 27
    Gray Ink Batting – 176 (58), Average HOFer ≈ 144
    Hall of Fame Monitor Batting – 144 (92), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Batting – 43 (128), Average HOFer ≈ 50

    Ron Santo
    Black Ink Batting – 11 (216), Average HOFer ≈ 27
    Gray Ink Batting – 147 (91), Average HOFer ≈ 144
    Hall of Fame Monitor Batting – 88 (196), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Batting – 41 (148), Average HOFer ≈ 50

    Santo got in because of his story and being a broadcaster and not because of his play. This Golden Age committee was formed for one reason and it succeed. Now Bud and company can bask in the glow of getting a dead below average hall of famer inducted.

    • Alex K - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:20 PM

      Santo was a good 3B defender who played in an awful era for hitting. He was a great player. One of the top ten 3B ever.

      Rice was a bad LF defender who played in a better offensive era. He was a good player. Not HOF worthy.

    • micker716 - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:45 PM

      …and because he played for the Chicago Cubs. If he spent his entire career with the Cleveland Indians, nobody would care about Ron Santo and the HOF wouldn’t even be an issue.

      • bozosforall - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:01 PM

        Just like Rice only got in because he played for the Red Sux. Put him in Toronto and he languishes like Joe Carter.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:18 PM

        Put him in Toronto and he languishes like Joe Carter.

        Please don’t tell me you think a guy who hit a career .259/.306/.464 for a 105 OPS+ belongs in the HoF?

    • lazlosother - Dec 5, 2011 at 6:31 PM

      “Santo got in because of his story and being a broadcaster and not because of his play. This Golden Age committee was formed for one reason and it succeed. Now Bud and company can bask in the glow of getting a dead below average hall of famer inducted.”

      No. Santo got in becuase the committee realized that a player who is in the top 10 all time at his position deserves to be in. Rice on the other hand is not in the top 10 all time at his position, he isn’t even close.

  19. linhsiu - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Headline finally corrected …

    The headline used to say …

    “Cubs great Santos finally into Canton”

    I know NFL is popular but come on…

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