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Ron Santo's Passing Should Not Change Hall Of Fame Status....

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Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

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Chicago lost a hometown legend today.  With the news breaking early this morning that the greatest man ever to man the hot corner at Wrigley Field Ron Santo passed away due to complications from bladder cancer.  Santo passes this morning at the age of 70 and will be remembered not only as a great icon in Chicago sports but a great human being.  No man did more for diabetes research in this city than one Ron Santo and in the few times meeting Santo as a broadcaster/producer in this town, he was indeed as true of a gentleman as he was spoken of by all you will hear from today.
 
However in passing I have heard throughout this morning that Ron Santo missed two things in his lifetime, a Cubs World Series and the Hall of Fame.  I understand that some people's perception of Santo may change with his passing, but by no means should Ron Santo be inducted into Baseball's Hall Of Fame posthumously. 

Very rarely will someone speak ill will about someone who just passes, but you should not change your opinion of whether or not Ron Santo should be in the Hall Of Fame based on his recent passing.  A man's death should not be the tipping point for a man in Santo's position in baseball.  It would only be not fair to Santo but would also be a slap in the face to Santo.  I have never believed that Ron Santo should be in Baseball's Hall of Fame for the simple fact that I believe his numbers do not stack up to what a Hall of Famer should be.  
 
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Looking at the numbers, Santo played in nine all star games and won five gold gloves.  According to FoxSports.Com MLB analyst Ken Rosenthal, only six hall of fame third baseman produced a higher OPS+ (on base/slugging percentage adjusted to league and park).  What a lot of voters and hall of famers who vote look at however is the fact that Santo was career .277 hitter (only batted over .300 three times in a 15 year career) who never played in the postseason.  Very few of the greats/hall of famers never sniff the playoffs.   
 
The Baseball Hall Of Fame lists that those who vote on whom should be elected to the hall of fame do so based on the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.  Requiring 75% of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers' Association Of America) ballot to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, he never received over 43.1% failing to reach Cooperstown in 15 tries with the writers and four with the Veterans Committee.  That tells me that those who vote for the Baseball's greatest honor believe although Santo may be beloved here in Chicago and a Cubs legend (although not the greatest player of the franchise's history), he is not a baseball legend.
 
So why should his death change anything?
 
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MLB and those who vote on the Hall Of Fame should not feel obligated now that Santo is gone to feel pressured to honor his memory by placing him in the Hall Of Fame.  In fact what MLB and those who vote on the Hall Of Fame should do is continue to deny him entry into Cooperstown.  How hypocritical would it be of the veterans committee who some are rumored to hold grudges against Santo because of his antics on the field of play to vote him in now because the man died.  Although Baseball I am sure would dress it up and some Cubs fans would surely fall for the spectacle of it, it would be a slap in the face to Santo and the Cubs organization in general.   
 
What baseball should do is leave it up to Cubs fans and the organization to remember Santo rather than have baseball name some sort of award after him or induct him into baseball's hall of fame.  He was denied entry into baseball's grandest halls for his entire post career, yet he welcomed Cubs fans (his family) each season as the color commentator of their hometown broadcast.  He was the Cubs version of Hawk Harrelson

Although the broadcasts on WGN Radio were not my cup of tea, Cubs fans respected him for being honest while expecting the most of each Cubs team that took the field on a daily basis.  He cheered for home runs and screamed about dropped pop flys. He sang the 7th inning stretch, and he met every Cubs fan that came calling his way.   
 
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Ron Santo was a man of the people, he loved life and he loved the Cubs.  It has been said that the Cubs kept him alive, and they would eventually be his demise.  Ron Santo epitomized the term "fan", and I truly believe he coined the phrase "there's always next year" because even though the season may not have worked out as well as he had liked.....there always was the following spring where the Cubs could start fresh.   
 
Wrigley Field will never be the same and one job I would not want in 2011 is Ron Santo's successor.  That job alone to whomever gets named the next sidekick of Pat Hughes on WGN Radio will have tremendous shoes to fill.  The greatest way Cubs fans and baseball can honor Ron Santo is to leave the man rest in peace and have him enjoy Cubs baseball at beautiful Wrigley Field with a new comfy seat in the sky. 

No awards, no inductions, no celebrations.....just play baseball.
 
That is the way Ron would want it, and the way it should be.
 
Rest In Peace Ronald Edward Santo
(1940-2010)
 
-RoCk
 
Rock Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and co-host of The Joe O And Rock Show on WSCR 670AM The Score
 
You can follow The Mully And Hanley Morning Show at twitter.com/mullyhanley
 
You can follow The Joe O And Rock Show at twitter.com/joeoandrockshow



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34 Comments

JulieDiCaro said:

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a)Nice timing. Couldn't wait ONE DAY?

B) He absolutely should be in the HOF. Santo had more RBIs and HR than any any non-1B or outfielder. He won 5 gold gloves. And he did it all while battling a life-threatening disease with Snickers bars. Even the curmudgeonly Bill James thinks he should be in.

C) Cubs fans don't want him elected posthumously. I don't know a single person who wants him inducted now. It was while he was here to see it or nothing. So I have no idea who this post is addressed to.

Rock Mamola said:

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Julie

a) Why wait for the inevitable?

b) I'm glad you didn't include all star game appearances in your argument. Voted on by fans meaning shouldn't count. If Bill James feels this way then why does everyone who has voted/nominated for the last three decades think differently where he couldn't even get 50% of the vote.

The fact that people have to think about him so much means he's not a hall of famer. To me if you are, you are....no thinking.

c) We had a lot of people who called in this morning who wanted him in the HOF. Dave Van Dyck said on CTL that he will get in now that he is dead. People will still argue him for the hall even after his passing.

Nice post by you today. Lots of good conversation.

-RoCk

JulieDiCaro said:

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Oh yeah--and he retired at 34.

I don't know why people have to think so hard about it. Because they're morons? A lot of the Vets haven't voted for him because he could be an asshole on the field. Every baseball writer/analyst I respect think he's a complete no-brainer.

Rock Mamola said:

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and the one's that "matter" (I guess) don't.

Asshole or not....to me he belongs in the "Hall of very good" but not "fame"

Wingman77 said:

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Why is it when people make an argument about Santo NOT being in the hall of fame that they pull some obscure stat to make their point (OPS+ adjusted for league and ballpark??)?? Seriously??

How about he was the best all around third baseman of his generation--he was a better fielder than Brooks Robinson. Brooks got in because he because he had the 1970 World Series to hang his hat on; Santo is not in because the 1969 Cubs famously collapsed (not Santo collapsed--the CUBS collapsed, mainly the pitching). Santo had more home runs and a higher batting average than Brooks Robinson, a HOF. End of argument.

Rock Mamola said:

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Wingman,

I appreciate you checking out the post...but

You say Santo was a better fielder than Santo, yet Robinson won 16 consecutive gold gloves (best fielder at his position in that respective league) while Ron only accumulated five in is career. That's 11 more than Santo.

Plus you ass in the fact with the World Series win in 1970....he was the MVP of that World Series hitting .429 with the same in OBP%

If you wanna levy a better batting average of .010 in their career to debate who was the better player (when Robinson wasn't a power threat his entire career).....it's a weak argument to me

Thanks again for checking out the post.

-RoCk

JulieDiCaro said:

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Brooks Robinson played for 23 years. Santo played for 14. He retired at age 34 because diabetes was ravaging his body. You can't compare stats that require longer careers like that.

Rock Mamola said:

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ok....he played 9 more years...and won 11 more gold gloves. When he did play in the post season he batted over .300 for his career including .429 in the 1970 world series (won mvp).

You're right...you can't compare Brooks to Santo. Brooks is so much better.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Also, the fact that you trust the BBWA to make a justifiable decision on who gets in the HOF and who doesn't is laughable. You might as well have monkeys with typewriters voting on inductions. Santo only fell 7 votes short with the veterans' committee, and it's widely believed that those were guys who held grudges against Santo from their playing days and assholes like Joe Morgan who don't want anyone else inducted.

Rock Mamola said:

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I know you are not a fan of the BBWAA but they are the ones who vote. Love em or hate em, they make the call.

If you wanna hate on the BBWAA and the Vet Committee then hate the sport you love because their rights are only granted thru MLB.

JulieDiCaro said:

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So I can't call certain writers morons because that means I hate the sport? ridiculous.

Rock Mamola said:

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you said you don't trust the ones who choose who gets in and who doesn't.

Using that logic, you disagree with MLB on who chooses the HOF'ers

Don't hate the playas, hate tha game!

-RoCk

JulieDiCaro said:

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Read the first few paragraphs of Jayson Stark's piece below. As for many of the guys who get to vote, I'll submit Joe Morgan as "Exhibit A.'

Rock Mamola said:

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I don't know if I have all night for this.....

lol

JulieDiCaro said:

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Actually, I think the BBWA get their directive from the HOF, not from MLB.

Also, I'll remind you that there are a couple of idiots out there every year who vote for Shawon Dunston.

Rock Mamola said:

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and Cecil Fielder

JulieDiCaro said:

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From Gene Wojciechowski's column today:

Santo should be in Cooperstown, of course. Why he isn't in the Hall of Fame is not only a baseball mystery, it's a cruel joke. Put his 15 years' worth of accomplishments and numbers in context (all done while battling diabetes) and it should have been a no-brainer. Instead, it was the voters who were brainless.

"To me it is clear and unequivocal that Santo is a Hall of Famer,'' Bill James, the godfather of baseball sabermetricians, told me once. "Putting guys like George Kell, Freddy Lindstrom and Tony Lazzeri in the Hall of Fame while you leave out Ron Santo is like putting Dalmatians, Palominos, and Siamese in the zoo while you let the lions roam the streets.''

And from Jayson Stark:

"2) Ron Santo was almost certainly the greatest all-around third baseman of his time. Name ANY other third baseman from the 1960s you would rather have run out there than Santo. Maybe Brooks Robinson, if you ate a lot of crabcakes. And there's a case to be made for Ken Boyer, a similar player whose Cardinals teams at least finished first once in a while. But I'd still take Santo. Of the 23 third basemen who got to the plate 3,000 times during Santo's 15 seasons, he led all of them in homers, RBIs, runs scored, extra-base hits, walks and times reaching base. Only Dick Allen and Eddie Mathews outslugged him -- but Allen was so awful defensively, he had to be moved to first base, and Mathews was done as a full-time player by the mid-'60s. Finally, let's put Santo's eight straight seasons of at least 25 homers and 90 RBIs in perspective. From the end of World War 2 through the end of Santo's career, only two players at ANY position had streaks longer than that: Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. This was not an age where 40-homer, 125-RBI seasons were as prevalent as bad sitcoms. So the only fair way to evaluate Santo's numbers is from the perspective of HIS time, not our time."

Actually, you should read Stark's whole article: http://espn.go.com/chicago/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=5879992

Rock Mamola said:

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if you wanna use the diabetes angle...then Cutler when he's done should be in the hall of fame too.

I'd take a first ballot hall of famer (Brooks) over Santo any day. But that's just me.

Stark uses comparisons of Santo to Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.....both hit over 600+ hr's in their careers.

It's all about the end result....did he do enough to get in. In my opinion and to those who vote (including Stark)...he's not.

JulieDiCaro said:

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How many times do I have to say that you can't use career totals for someone with a shortened career? you have to look at what players did during the same number of years in order to make it a fair comparison.

so basically, your entire opinion is based on the idea that, if he deserved to get in, he would have gotten in? if so, you should have just put up a link to Joe Morgan's website (I'm assuming he has one) instead of writing all this.

you know i love you, but you're just wrong.


Rock Mamola said:

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Julie...

You judge a player on the final results. What Santo did in his time as a ballplayer does not equal the hall of fame. Hall of very good, but not fame.

Love you long time!

-RoCk

JulieDiCaro said:

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also, your cutler comment only makes sense if Cutler puts up similiar numbers to other HOFers but has a shortened career.

counsel3000 said:

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Your opinion is your opinion and you just reminded me of something , your opinion is like a butt hole everyone has one and thanks for reminding me why i turn your show off when it comes on the score.

Rock Mamola said:

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Thanks Counsel...

Talk to you tomorrow on the show!

Appreciate it

-RoCk

Rock Mamola said:

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I can't believe people reading this post think I'm insulting Santo on the day of his passing. All I was saying is I hope people don't change their opinion of him (as far as if he is a HOF'er or not) because of his passing.

I guess reading is a skill....

-RoCk

JulieDiCaro said:

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You're setting up a strawman argument. Cubs fans don't want him in now--they wanted him in before. I haven't seen or heard a single Cubs fan say he should go in now. If some have, they're idiots. Ronnie didn't want to go in posthumously. Saying that he should have been elected when he was alive and saying he should go in now because he's dead are two different things.

Rock Mamola said:

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I based this whole blog on our morning program this morning. Cubs fans calling in wanting him in now.....

That's it!

(need an advil)

spyderson7 said:

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Hey Rock, ,,!,,

Rock Mamola said:

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that's creative....

spyderson7 said:

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Well someone had to say it, its not worth arguing wih a piece of sh!t like you, f u c k off buddy

Rock Mamola said:

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lol....

now I see why I don't answer comments after 5pm.

ImAHawkeye said:

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"....Santo was career .277 hitter (only batted over .300 three times in a 15 year career) who never played in the postseason. Very few of the greats/hall of famers never sniff the playoffs"

You couldn't pick a more STUPID criterion for admittance to the Hall of Fame. Using World Series play as a component for HOF membership, I guess Ted Williams just managed to barely slither in.

Now before you answer "Ron Santo is no Ted Williams", I agree. But let's get real here. Ron Santo is not in The Hall not because of his stats or lack thereof, but because enough of the voting media and his Veterans Committee peers DIDN'T LIKE HIM AS A PERSON. He was cocky. He was brash, and he could on occasion be not nice. Once you've established decent enough stats to be in the mix, and Santo indeed reached that level, it becomes a beauty pageant and you are then at the mercy of the voters with whom you have interacted during your career. Go muster up your stats and with those in hand tell me why Red fricken Schoendienst or Bill "I Had A Decent Career, But Then I Hit That One Home Run" Mazeroski are in the HOF and Santo isn't? Good luck.

Rock Mamola said:

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I'm not going to be nieve and say politics had nothing to do with it, but I will say this it is about the entire picture.

The induction of Ron Santo will only continue the recent streak of making the Hall Of Fame into the Hall of very good. My personal take on it is if you are not a HOF'er by your third time on the ballot, then you shouldn't be allowed entrance. If baseball truly wants to make the Hall Of Fame a truly special place and even more significant, the election of players should be limited to three attempts.

Using those two examples that you listed.....maybe what Baseball should look into is take away the Veterans Committee. I could slightly understand Maz because of that one home run in the history of the game, but Red I'm not sure.

The entire resume is what counts over any "politics" and to me/the BBWAA/the Veterans Committee.....it's not enough. And his death should not be the tipping point to get him in.

-RoCk


p.s. - Ted Williams was the greatest hitter of all time. I think that alone would get him into a Hall of Fame.....right?

ImAHawkeye said:

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"
. I could slightly understand Maz because of that one home run in the history of the game..."


How can you say all that you've said and then type this? Using that logic, I suppose they ought to start sculpting Bobby Thomsen's plaque.

For several years, Santo has got what I call "The Durocher Treatment". Thwarted for years, the personally unpopular Durocher was instantly voted in after his death. The Committee was determined to have the last laugh in denying The Lip the ability to enjoy the honor in his lifetime, just like God allowing Moses to see Canaan, but not enter it.

Look for more of the same with Santo.

p.s. Here are the stats for Joe "Louie The Budweiser Lizard" Morgan.

268 HR, .271 BA, 689 SB (11th), 2B, HOF

He doesn't belong there either.

John Arguello said:

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You're main points are that his batting average was .277 and that he didn't play in the postseason? Sorry, but that's a pretty poor argument.

When you use more advanced metrics such as WAR and compare it to his 3rd base peers, Santo is easily a top 10 3b, and probably higher. Considering there are usually 15-20 players for each position in the HOF, Santo shouldn't just be in. He should be in comfortably.

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