Wednesday, September 17, 2008
By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
Cubs won a doozie last night, and the magic number is down to 4. If they sweep Milwonky in this series, they win the division.
Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Word(s) of the Day: Parking Lot Pimpin'. Apparently, if you want to be a rapper and represent the dirty south, you have to make reference to parking lots in order to maintain your credibility. Why should I be any exception?
Cubs Fan Emotion-o-Meter Monkeyification Picture: Smokin' and jokin', baby.
Today's edition of the CEOM will break tradition and not end with the monkeyification picture. It will end in pontificating. Ron Santo has been placed on the ballot for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the veterans committee. It's time to get him elected into the Hall of Fame. It's a joke that he is not in the Hall already. Since this is (I am purely speculating here) read primarly by Hall of Fame Veterans Committee members, allow me to state Ron Santo's case.
1. Bill James thinks he should be in.
2) All of what Kerry Wood said here. It is exerpted below.
Cubs Closer Kerry Wood on … Ron Santo
"The Hall of Fame vote and Ron Santo are talked about a lot in our clubhouse. He's been denied 18 times, and after each vote we'll look at his stats and ask, 'Are these Hall of Fame numbers?' You'll get a yes from 95% of the guys. When you start digging into the numbers, I don't think there's any doubt. How can you not vote for a guy who was a nine-time All-Star, earned five Gold Gloves, had four top-10 MVP finishes, three top-10 home run finishes and four .300-plus seasons, and led the National League in walks four times? And if you look at all the third basemen who played between 1950 and 1975, Ron ranks second in HRs, third in hits, RBIs and games played, fourth in slugging, and seventh in on-base percentage. And he did it despite having diabetes. For him to play in the big leagues at that level is amazing.
"For some reason, third basemen get jobbed in the voting. There are only 13 of them—three Negro Leagues stars and 10 major leaguers. Nothing personal, but if George Kell is in [see chart], then Ronny should be too. Ronny crushed him in HRs, RBIs, hits and runs, and he did it with a respectable .277 career batting average, which is almost 25 points higher than the NL average during his career. I'm not saying Brooks Robinson doesn't belong in the Hall, but Ronny played eight fewer seasons and finished with 74 more HRs, a higher batting average and on-base percentage, and nearly the same RBI total. I know, Ronny never played in the postseason. Neither did Kell or Ronny's Hall of Fame teammates Ernie Banks and Ferguson Jenkins. Neither did Billy Williams when he was with the Cubs.
"I keep it simple: Look at the third basemen who are in, then look at Ronny's numbers. I'm amazed he isn't in yet. His next chance is in 2009. When it happens, and if the schedule lets us, I'm going to be there for the ceremony. He's the epitome of Chicago baseball. He's still part of this team. He lives and dies with it. In fact, I think we've put him in the hospital a few times. He should get in just for that."
|CUBS CURSE |
Santo stacks up with his third-basemen peers in Cooperstown.
|Ron Santo (1960-74)||.277||342||1,331||9||5|
|Eddie Mathews (1952-68)||.271||512||1,453||12||0|
|Brooks Robinson (1955-77)||.267||268||1,357||18||16|
|Wade Boggs (1982-99)||.328||118||1,014||12||2|
|Mike Schmidt (1972-89)||.267||548||1,595||12||10|
|George Kell (1943-57)||.306||78||870||10||0|
3) This ESPN article, also exerpted below, furthers the Santo debate.
Santo is unique in baseball history, a third baseman who hit like a left fielder while playing excellent defense at the hot corner.
Part of the reason Santo has been left out of the Hall of Fame is that the BBWAA has never quite figured out what to do with third basemen. They are historically underrepresented, and the change in the position over time has made it difficult to establish standards for what makes a Hall of Fame third baseman. Santo also lacked one signature skill on which to hang his case; he doesn't have 400 home runs or 3,000 hits or one major point his supporters could use to beat his candidacy home.
Actually, the biases Santo fights are more basic that that. Large parts of his value are hidden in areas that the BBWAA hasn't done a good job of recognizing: defense and walks. Santo was the NL's Gold Glove winner at third base from 1964 through 1968, and led the league in bases on balls in four of those five years. He was among the league leaders in OBP and slugging throughout the 1960s, finishing in the top 10 in both categories in every season from 1964 through 1967.
He was a reasonable MVP candidate throughout this time, with his chances being hurt every year by the lousy Cubs team around him. You simply couldn't win an NL MVP on a bad team in the 1960s; every NL MVP winner in that decade played for a team that won at least 90 games. The Cubs won 90 games just once, in 1969, a season that for some reason isn't remembered on the North Side as their best performance of the decade. Because Santo never appeared in the postseason and rarely was a factor in a pennant race, he didn't have the visibility of other players. This hurt him, probably unfairly, with the voters.
Santo never had a monster season, in part because his era wouldn't allow for them. Yes, he played in Wrigley Field, which helped his numbers, but the game-wide dampening of offense kept him from having the signature years, the 40-homer, 120-RBI campaigns that Hall of Fame voters love to see on a resumé. He was never the best player in the league -- there was this guy named Mays who made that impossible -- but you can make a case for him as the second-best player in the NL during his peak.
So Santo was one of the top few players in his league for about six years, the second-best third baseman in the game's history upon his retirement, and put up numbers at a defensive position that would have made him a borderline Hall of Fame candidate at an offensive one. That is a Hall of Famer.
The omission of Ron Santo is the most egregious mistake ever made by the Baseball Writers Association of America. They should have inducted Santo 20 years ago, and that they overlooked him throughout his 15 years on the ballot is a shame. I sincerely hope that the new Veterans Committee rights the error quickly. It will be a boon to their credibility and a honor for a man too long left outside the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.
Do the right thing, Veterans Committee.