(#10 Santo 1969)
Unfortunately he passed away December 3, 2010 (to diabetes, which he had lived with since the age of 18). The announcement by the Veterans Committee came almost a year to the date of his passing. He joins 45 other Cubs in the Hall, the last one being 2010 BBWAA Inductee “The Hawk” Andre Dawson (eventhough Dawson spent 1987-92 with the Cubs and was the league MVP in ’87, his plaque has him wearing a Montreal Expo cap).
Santo’s election into the Hall was long past due. The power hitting 3rd baseman, who was a nine time All-Star in just 15 seasons should’ve been elected into the Hall if not in his first year of eligibility 1980, then VERY shortly there after. Looking at his career statistics and accomplishments it’s clear that his name had been by-passed for far too long.
The right-handed hitting slugger batted .277 with 365 doubles, 342 home runs and 1,331 RBI in 2,243 big league games with the Cubs (1960-73) and White Sox (1974), winning five Rawlings Gold Glove awards for his play at third base.
>He led the N.L. in assists for seven-straight seasons from 1962-68, tying a National League record.
>He recorded a major league record eight-straight seasons with 90 RBI as a third baseman
>In 1965, he tied a major league record with 164 games played at third base.
>Santo hit safely in a then modern-day Cubs record 28-straight games from May 31-July 4, 1966
He ranks in the Cubs’ top-10 all-time rankings in multiple categories:
>1,071 walks rank second
>337 home runs rank fourth
>2,126 games played, 7,768 at-bats, 1,290 RBI and 756 extra-base hits rank fifth.
>3,667 total bases rank sixth.
>2,171 hits rank seventh
>1,109 runs scored rank eighth
>353 doubles rank ninth
After more research I found that there have been 17,733 ballplayers in the storied history of Major League Baseball, and Ron will ONLY be the 12th third baseman in the HOF (Hall of Fame). Take a moment to digest those numbers and that ratio (1 out of every 1,477.75 major leaguers). Ron’s first year of eligibility was in 1980 when he received only 3.9% of the votes, his percentages had gone up since then topping out at 43.1% in 1998 (last year of eligibility), falling far short of the required 75%. Why, did it take 32 years and 19 ballots to get it right, and allow one of the most worthy recipient in the hallowed halls in Cooperstown?
The Cubs did their part earlier this year. On Aug 10th (2011) before a game vs. the Washington Nationals (which the Cubs ended up winning 4-2), they unveiled, and dedicated a bronze statue outside of Wrigley Field.
Ronnie will have to look down on HOF ceremony on July 22, 2012 from that big ballpark in the sky instead of presenting probably one of the most heart-felt acceptance speeches of all time, you just know it would’ve been. At the end of the day when it’s all said and done, Santo’s “in”, and his family, their family, and hundreds of thousands of baseball fans will now be able to honor his greatness.
Ron was always quoted as saying “I’m a Cubbie. I’ll always be a Cubbie.” Well, Mr. Santo you may have been #10 in the program, but always #1 in our hearts.