Monday, December 8, 2008

Santo Misses Out Again

For far too long former Cub Great Third Baseman and current Cub Great Announcer, Ron Santo, has missed out on the Hall of Fame. 2008 should have marked the end of this ridiculous error in judgement and voting. It was announced this morning at Baseball's Winter Meetings that Santo has once again been blocked from his rightful place in the Hall which is long over due. Once again Santo has been kept from joining with Hall of Famers and former teammates Billy Williams and Ernie Banks. (Pictured Below with Manager Leo Durocher)

Santo has already been historically aligned alongside other Cub Hall of Famers (Williams, Banks, and Ryne Sandeberg) for years with their numbers, the only 4, retired in the Cubs long and storied history, but apparently the Veteran's Committee have decided that the Hall of Fame doesn't have room for Santo just yet.

The Veteran's Committee made the mistake in 2005 leaving Santo out (by 8 votes) and 2007 (by 5 votes) and had received much criticism for the act, but clearly has not learned from past mistakes. Santo has been widely regarded as the best player not in the Hall of Fame for a long time.
The anticipation and later agonizing realization of missing out on the Hall of Fame again, by 15 votes (in 2003), can be seen in the documentary This Old Cub by Ron's son Jeff Santo. Well worth a couple hours.

The Nine Time All-Star played the majority of his career suffering quietly from Type 1 Diabetes that has since cost him both of his legs in 2001 and 2002. He was told at the age of 18 he would live to about 25. As mentioned in Santo's documentary, Santo monitored his diabetes based solely on how he felt as there weren't widely available means of testing oneself at the time. There were times where he took the plate seeing double or triple due to low blood sugar. In such instances he would just focus on "the one in the middle".

Santo, winner of 5 Gold Gloves, was also the 1973 Lou Gherig Award winner. He finished his career with 5 seasons in the top 10 of OPS, slugging %, and extra base hits. He also finished in the top ten in Batting Avg (3 x), MVP voting (4 x), OBP (7 x), Runs (3 x), Hits (4 x), HRs (7 x), RBIs (8 x), and Walks (9 x). Offensively, he is most commonly compared to Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, and Yogi Berra, all of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

Is is very disheartening to hear that Santo has once again been kept at bay from the Hall of Fame. No one from the post 1942 ballot received the 75% of votes to gain entrance to Cooperstown. I for one have been waiting years to hear Santo's name mentioned as an inductee to Cooperstown, but will have to wait two more years for that to be potentially realized. Santo has referred to the process as torture and has all but given up on his induction. I guess I might just have to finally agree with Ron that it may never happen. And it's a damn shame.