Warning: This is a shameless plug for Ronny getting into the HoF.
I’ve been reading through several of the posts about who should get into the Hall of Fame. Many players have strong cases for them and against them. I wish most of them the best of luck. One of the most deserving people on the list has to be Ron Santo. It will be up to the veterans committee to decide his fate. I hope with the help of Ryno, Mr. Cub, and Billy Williams he will get enough votes this time around.
His Playing Years
Ronny played 14 seasons in the bigs, all of them in the great city of Chicago, 13 years with the Cubs and one with the Sox. He will go down as one of the best third baseman the game will ever see. He received 5 Gold Glove awards. He led the NL in assists from 1962 to 1968. In ’63 he broke the assist record wit 374 put outs at third base, a record that had stood since 1904. He then broke a league record for assists in 1966 with 391, a record that stood since 1892. He went on and broke his own record again in 1967 with 393 assists. His records stood until Mike Jack Schmidt put out 404 in 1974. He led the league in double plays six different years. He holds the record of the most consecutive games played at third base with 364 and the single season mark with 164 set in 1965. This streak was ended only after he was hit in the face with a pitch fracturing his cheek bone. This injury also led him to be the first player to have a batting helmet with an ear flap. He broke Eddie Mathews career records for double plays at third base and assists, again these records stood until Mike Jack Schmidt came along. He is one of two third basemen to hit 300 home runs and win 5 gold gloves, the other, you guessed it, Mike Jack Schmidt.
His offensive numbers are not overly impressive but when you consider the era he played in they are not half bad either. He had a career average of .277, 1,331 RBIs, and hit a total of 342 HR. He is in the top ten of almost all of the offensive categories during his playing years. He was also a 9 time All Star.
His impressive career is even more impressive when you consider all of this was done while trying to manage diabetes. His consecutive games played record is the most impressive to me. As a fellow diabetic I can tell you, you will definitely have a few off days a year. To do this with the primitive treatments available in the ’60s and the ’70s is nothing short of amazing.
Santo has gone on with Pat Hughes to be the voice of the Chicago Cubs for WGN Radio. I can tell you I would rather have no one than Ronny for this job. I work second shift in a warehouse and I am forced to listen to more than half of the games on the radio. Ronny isn’t particularly a great announcer, but he is the best one for the job. You can turn on a game in the fourth inning and you can tell how it is going just by the sound in his voice. He lives and dies with every pitch just like so many of us Cubs fans do. It reminds me of watching games in the late ’80s and listening to Hary Caray butcher names and not have a clue what was going on with the game. He was horrible and great at the same time. Same goes for Santo.
Somehow with his busy broadcast schedule he finds time for charities and other special causes. His main charity is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). He has raised well over 50 million dollars for diabetes research and raised more than that in awareness. With the government ban on stem cell research, diabetes research has suffered greatly. This makes his efforts all that more important. This alone earns him a spot in my personal Hall of Fame. I’ve had the privilege of meeting him on a few occasions and every time I am impressed by how upbeat he his. He loves his fans and the game of baseball. He will almost always stop for an autograph or a picture and then thank you for stopping him. He has been in town on two separate occasions to help raise money for Little Cubs Field and again for the grand opening. The first time he spoke to all of the local Little Leaguers on their opening day. I was lucky enough to win a spot in a special private meet and greet. He is by far one of the biggest stars and the nicest guys I have ever met. He stood up for every picture taken which is quite impressive considering he is a double amputee below his knees. His prosthetics are decorated with blue pinstripes and Cubs logos, that takes bleeding Cubbie blue to a whole new level.
What It All Adds Up To
Ron Santo deserves to be in the Hall. He played the game with everything he had and he played the right way. His numbers and stats are equal or greater than the other third basemen in the Hall. He has stayed in the game since his playing days were over and become a fan favorite across the board. He has done more good for the world than most people will ever get the chance to do. Simply stated Ron Santo is a Hall Of Famer. Good Luck Ronny!
|Ron Santo (1960-74)
|Eddie Mathews (1952-68)
|Brooks Robinson (1955-77)
|Wade Boggs (1982-99)
|Mike Schmidt (1972-89)
|George Kell (1943-57)