Ron Santo Denied Once Again
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 28, 2007 6:50PM
When Chicagoist went to overnight camp, there was this game the older campers used to play with the younger ones. They’d tell the youngsters that if they ran the “circuit” from a certain bench, behind cabin 1, in front of cabin 2, etc. to cabin 12 and back to the bench in under a minute they’d get their name on a plaque in Cabin 13, where the CIT’s lived. Of course, there was no plaque, and there was no stopwatch. They’d simply start counting “54 … 55 … 56” as the kids got close. They’d always come up just short. And sometimes they’d puke up lunch.
Why do we tell this story? Because the veterans’ committee seems to be playing a similar game with former Cubs great Ron Santo. For the third time, Santo was denied entry into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Yet again, he came up just short, garnering 70% of the vote when 75% was needed.
Santo once again set himself up for humiliating failure by lobbying for entry, even telling the media he wouldn’t be sleeping Monday night in anticipation. He’s always been known as a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, but his lobbying for admission every time the committee meets makes him come off as desperate as the oldest bridesmaid at a wedding. Maybe showing some humility would help him next time.
Also, his chances would seem to improve as the impact of the steroid era becomes better known. While his career stats of 342 home runs, 1331 RBIs and a .277 batting average don’t seem that impressive by today's steroid-enhanced standards, not many players averaged 30 home runs a year for the better part of a decade back then. Maybe by 2009, the juiced numbers will be more evident and Santo's legacy will be viewed in a more accurate light. Already, we’ve seen the writers keep people out of the hall based on suspicions of juicing — we’re looking at you, Mark McGwire — so maybe the veterans’ committee will do the opposite. Also helping Santo’s cause, he also won 5 consecutive Gold Gloves at 3rd base from 1964-68. And good defense is timeless.
Image via Answers.com.