Once again, the Veteran's Committee shut the door on their precious Hall of Fame to anyone who played after World War II. The most blatant snub was Ron Santo. I know, I know. Time to pile on the Cubs fans and tell us why Santo didn't deserve to get in. You'll have your chance. First, I get mine. Here's why Santo should easily be in the Hall of Fame.
First of all, when talking Hall of Fame, the game changes so much with the times that you have to find a comparison within the same era. That's easy here, as the gold standard at third base pre-Mike Schmidt was Brooks Robinson. Robinson and Santo played in the same era, so it's a good starting point for conversation.
I'll break down some of the more telling stats here between Santo and Robinson and decide which one has the upper hand.
Received MVP votes: Robinson -- 12 of 23 seasons. Santo -- seven of 15 seasons.
Gold Gloves: Robinson -- 16 of 23 seasons. Santo -- 5 of 15 seasons.
Verdict: Robinson has the upper hand, though not surprising since all you ever hear about defense at third involves his name. Still, five gold gloves isn't exactly anything to belittle.
Verdict: Santo by a nudge, though the difference is negligible.
Career Batting Average: Santo by 10 points.
Home Runs per 162 games: Santo -- 25, Robinson -- 16. Santo had A LOT more for career despite many, many fewer at-bats.
RBI per 162: Santo -- 96, Robinson -- 76.
Runs per 162: Santo -- 82, Robinson -- 69.
Career OPS: Santo -- .826, Robinson -- .723.
Career Fielding Percentage: Robinson -- .971, Santo -- .954.
I really think Santo's case is better, until you throw in Robinson's MVP (Santo never finished higher than fourth, though he was in the top eight four times) and two World Championship rings. So, depending upon how much stock you put into any of the numbers above or team achievements, the guys are fairly even. Just for argument's sake, I don't think this greatly separates them. Juan Gonzalez has two MVPs and David Eckstein has two rings, for example. Then you stumble along the true separation point: longevity. Robinson's prime, judging from the stats, looks like about 19-20 years, while Santo's was around 11.
There are a handful of guys in the Hall with worse credentials. Seriously, was Red Schoendienst really better than Santo? And if we're really keeping him out because of longevity issues, why are Ryne Sandberg, Kirby Puckett, and Ralph Kiner in?
Furthermore, there are only 10 third basemen in the Hall of Fame. This game has been played for far too long to only have witnessed 10 all-time greats at the hot corner. I also don't understand the discrepancy. You saw the numbers above. Was the difference between Santo and Robinson really wide enough to have one never make the Hall of Fame while the other was overwhelmingly voted in as a first-ballot inductee?
If writers are going to build a wall between the Hall and guys like Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens for personal reasons, shouldn't some concessions be given to a man who played through the same diabetes which has now claimed both of his legs? This was obviously the reason for his shortened career, and longevity seems to be the one reason he's not making it.
Santo deserves to be individually glorified. As I said, he has no legs now. He claims that a Cubs World Series win would be more gratifying than seeing himself inducted into the Hall. I believe him. I understand the game is played between the lines and off the field stuff shouldn't matter -- though the baseball Hall does ask people to judge the entire character of the player -- but there are some train wrecks for human beings bumping around this game. Santo is a good, genuine man who played baseball, from what the stats tell me (man, I wish I could have seen him), like an absolute stud for about 10 years. Maybe another three years would have been enough for the veterans committee. They meet again in two years, so let's hope that someone shakes some sense into them within that time span. I hope he makes it, because Ronnie may not be alive come time for the next vote. And he will die having never seen a Cubs championship -- seriously, what are the odds? -- and never having been elected in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I always find it funny when people like Skip Bayless spew the "Hall of the Very Good," crap. Very good isn't on the same medium as Fame. It's not called the Hall of Elite Players. It's the Hall of Fame. Ron Santo is plenty famous, and he is a significant enough part of baseball history to be enshrined. The veteran's committee should be ashamed of themselves. This was -- for the billionth straight time with Santo -- a terrible decision in terms of on-field and off-field accomplishments.
It's not altogether surprising, though, because living Hall of Famers comprise the Veteran's Committee. If they start electing more people into their little elitist club, it could become saturated and they won't get as much credit for being there. What a pathetic way to cling to individual legacy.*
*obviously this is directed at the 40 percent of the members who didn't vote for Santo. I'm good with the 60 percent who did the right thing.
This Old Snub: Ron Santo Kept Out of Hall of Fame Once Again by Veterans Committee originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Mon, 08 Dec 2008 17:10:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.