Wednesday, March 02, 2005


The Case for Ronnie

...and I don't mean Woo.

Today the Veteran's Committee of the HOF will be voting on our very own Ron Santo. Personally, it is hard for me to believe that Santo isn't in the Hall. But am I biased?

Raw numbers are hard to compare when looking at the Hall, because of differences in eras (that's era as in time period, not earned run average), so I'm going to introduce some stats that many visitors will be familiar with, but may be new to some others.

First off is OPS+. OPS stands for On Base Plus Slugging. It is simply taking the percentage of times one gets on base and adding it to that players slugging percentage. OPS is much more highly corralated to wins and runs scored than batting average. OPS+ just takes this number and normalizes it to the league average OPS. So an OPS+ of 100 is exactly average. For his career, Ronnie had an OPS+ of 125, or 25% higher than average. His peak included four seasons in a row of 164, 146,161, and 153. Sounds good, but how about some perspective. Paul Molitor, first bollot HOFer, had an OPS+ of 122 for his career. Brooks Robinson? 104. Yep, Robinson was only 4% better offensively than league average (I know he is in the Hall for his defense, don't worry). HOFer Pie Traynor? 107.

The fact is, there are not very many third basemen that can hit particularily well. Mike Schmidt, George Brett, and Eddie Matthews were all clearly better than Santo, but after that, it becomes close. Some more stats for Ronnie: 9 time All-Star, 5 time Gold Glover, 7 times in the top ten OBP, 7 times in top ten home runs, 8 times top ten RBI's. The main reason that he isn't already in the Hall is that he only played 15 seasons. He is also hurt by the fact that he played on the same team as three other HOFer's (Banks, Williams, and Jenkins) and was a bit overshadowed by them. It should be noted that Billy Williams never had a single offensive season as good offensively as Santo's best, and that is while playing an easier defensive position. That is no disrespect to Williams, a clear HOFer. Santo played in a highly offensively depressed era, and because of this, people see his raw numbers and aren't impressed. In this age of cranium enlarging, testicle shrinking enhancements, anything less than 400 career homers seems like a paltry sum.

All this, and no mention yet of diabetes, a disease that people didn't understand whilst Ronnie played. There were no blood sugar meters and no knowledge of maintaining working blood sugar levels. It is a miracle that he was able to hack out the 15 seasons that he did.

It is an absolute travesty that Santo isn't in the Hall. I mean, the guy is dropping limbs at an alarming rate. Pretty soon he'll just be a head in a jar announcing games, screaming at Patrick to hold the jar up so he can see what's going on. So let's get him in the damn Hall while he is alive, because you know he is going to shoot right in after he dies.

Do I think he'll get in this year? No. The voting system is designed to not let anyone in. There are too many candidates on the ballot and to the votes are far to widely split to get the requisit 75%. The system needs further reform and hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.

But that said, Let's go Ronnie! Let's make this the year of the Cub!

One other person I forgot to mention was Wade Boggs. He is the other third sacker that was actually better than Santo. However, he kills Lions and Tigers and Bears and oh my, that is offensive, so Ronnie goes right back on top. The only thing he killed was a squirrel for his toupe.

------------------Update (1:15 pm)-------------------------------------------------------------
I'm afraid This Old Cub will have to wait another year for enshrinement. The veteran's committee is an absolute travesty and it sickens me that a slam dunk HOFer like Santo should have had to even wait for the Veteran's committee, and not a jury of his peers won't give him the recognition he so richly deserves. He was eight votes shy. Very, very upset am I.

Jason that's a cool stat. I love that he kicks Brooks' ass. That guy had about 3 miracle catches on national TV during the world series. That's why he's in the hall.

Go Ronny!

Uh...pretty grisly picture you painted of his head in a jar!
Brooks Robinson:Third base::??:Shortstop. The answer, Ozzie Smith. Brooks is completely overrated as the best thirdbaseman of all time because of all the gold gloves. Mike Schmidt is the best, followed by George Brett. Santo is better than Brooks, he just didn't play for 23 years
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