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Subject: Santo in Hall of Fame [baseball] rss

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Rob
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Finally! Must have been a letter-writing campaign from the millions of Cubs faithful.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/baseball/mlb/12/05/ron...
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David Molnar
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Very deserving. Shame it took so long. You don't have to be a Cubs fan to appreciate his candidacy.
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Rob
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And a shame that he didn't live long enough to see it.
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Rick B
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Would have been a touch nicer when he was sick instead of dead. Better late than never though.
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fightcitymayor
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And let the chorus of naysayers ring out:
some dumb New York blogger wrote:
> Ron Santo got in the Hall of Fame today. Which is a total sham.

The career .277 hitter has been rightfully kept out of the Hall of Fame for 31 years since landing on the ticket, but was nominated by the Veteran’s Committee today for reasons I am yet to decipher.

Basically the only defense provided for Santo is that he stacks up well to other Hall of Famers. ”He’s better than a lot of Hall-of-Famers!” Yeah, but does that mean they belong in the Hall either? Do Dave Bancroft, Rick Ferrell, Chick Hafey, Phil Rizzuto or Lloyd Waner, the guys being used as a standard, belong? What about fellow third basemen Freddie Lindstrom, Frank Baker, Jimmy Collins or George Kell?

This is the prime example of the Hall’s slippery slope that we mentioned last week: If you keep letting these cruddy players in, the bar gets lower and lower, and soon people will be justifying Ron Santos being in the Hall of Freaking Fame.

You won’t read anything like this today because A) everyone loved Ron, B) they are drinking the Kool-Aid distributed by his campaign members and C) because he died 366 days ago. But none of that changes the facts: A .277 hitter with 342 homers and 1331 RBI, defense included, doesn’t belong among Brooks Robinson, George Brett, Mike Schmidt and Wade Boggs as Hall of Fame third basemen.

This also points to the flaw of the Veteran’s Committee’s judgement. Jim Katt–who no red-blooded human being could look me in the eye and say is one of the greatest pitchers of all time–was only two votes away from permanent enshrinement. Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso were three away, and Tony Oliva, who illustrated my point about declining Hall standards brilliantly six years ago, was four votes away from baseball’s highest honor.

This is the Hall of Fame. This should be reserved for the best players the game has ever or will ever see. Years from now, when Brendan Ryan gets in and the Hall finally decides to trim its unwanted hedges, they will wonder, “What’s Santo doing here?”

One can make an argument for a "small Hall" and that's fine, but it's funny when:

A) Brooks Robinson's career AVG is 11 points lower than Santo's, and Robinson's OPS is 100 points lower than Santo's (yes, Brooksie is in for Defense, but Santo has 5 straight Gold Gloves himself.)
B) Brett had 317 homers to Santo's 342
C) You should probably spell Jim Kaat's name right if you are going to slam him as being unworthy dog-meat.

I think being a 9-time all-star in 15 seasons, and having those sort of counting stats when he only played until age 34 makes him more worthy than many assume. And not that the baseball HOF is a place for pity-parties, but the way Santo played through diabetes at a time when he was told he might not live to see 25 is certainly inspirational.

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Larry Levy
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It is indeed about time and it's definitely bittersweet that the man couldn't be here to witness his greatest honor. The sad fact is that Ron Santo had to die for people to take his HoF candidacy seriously.

I was following the sport as a youngster during Santo's prime and to be honest, I never considered him Hall of Fame material. But he did things that we didn't appreciate back then (like walk an awful lot) that we now recognize the value of. Plus, it didn't occur to us that lesser stats could still be valuable at a time when pitching was so dominant. I know it sounds dumb in retrospect, but folks were a lot more impressed with a .300 hitter who played during the 1930's (when there were some years when an entire league hit .300) then we were with a .280 hitter (with a great OBA and good power) during the big-strike-zone, tall-pitching-mound sixties.

Anyway, I'm glad the voters finally saw the light and elected him. But it's too bad what had to happen in order for it to occur.
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