Thursday, April 30, 2009


The title of this post does not refer to the fact that the Cubs are 10-10. Rather, it refers to one of the greatest baseball players ever to wear that jersey number: Ron Santo.

Ron Santo should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. There are currently 10 third basemen in the Hall (plus three from the Negro Leagues), and Santo's numbers compare solidly with those of the players who are already enshrined in Cooperstown. Here's how his numbers compare with Brooks Robinson, for example:

Santo hit 342 career home runs; Robinson hit 268.

Santo had 1,331 runs batted in, only 26 fewer than Robinson's 1,357.

Santo had a higher career batting average (.277-.267), on-base percentage (.362-.322), and slugging percentage (.464-.401). His OPS was .103 points higher than Robinson's (.826-.723).

Robinson won 10 Gold Gloves compared to Santo's five.

Expert sabermatrician Bill James has stated the Santo is the best player not to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and believes his election is long overdue.

Santo also played with diabetes, a disease that was poorly understood at the time. He is up for induction via a Veterans Committee vote every two years, but the Veterans Committee is terribly constructed, made up solely of living Hall of Famers who feel that it would diminish their accomplishment if more players were allowed into the Hall.

The Cub Reporter did a nice three-part series on the case for Santo to be inducted:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

WGN Radio personality Garry Meier has launched a campaign to get Santo a statue outside Wrigley Field. The Cubs have two statues (Harry Caray and Ernie Banks), have retired four numbers (Santo, Sandberg, Banks and Billy Williams), and will retire the #31 worn by both Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins this Sunday.

Santo has done so much for the Cubs on the field and in the broadcast booth, and he's a Cubs legend and a face of the organization. When he had his number retired (a game I was fortunate enough to attend--the sun poked through the clouds just as the flag with his number was raised), he declared: "This is my Hall of Fame."

Hopefully one day Santo will have an actual Hall of Fame induction to call his Hall of Fame, but in the meantime, a statue outside Wrigley Field would no doubt mean a great deal to him. Santo was not just a great player--he's a great person and a great ambassador for the game of baseball. If you'd like to help Get Ron Bronzed, visit Meier's petition here.

(hat tip: Sherry Christol)

Cubs notes
-Ryan Dempster last April: 4-0, 3.16 ERA, two home runs.
Ryan Dempster this April: 1-1, 5.40 ERA, four home runs.

Wednesday marked Dempster's first April loss since returning to the starter role. Dempster has gone exactly six innings in all five starts, which is not terrible but not great either.

-Derrek Lee was back in the lineup Wednesday, but Aramis Ramirez may be headed to the DL. Too bad Jake Fox can't play third base (or anywhere, apparently).

-The Cubs offense has been really hit-or-miss this year (literally): they've scored 10 runs or more three times, and scored two or fewer seven times. They have only scored four, five or six runs (typically the most common totals) three times all year. The Cubs' offensive consistency last year was largely a function of being selective at the plate, drawing walks and driving up their on-base percentage. Going into Wednesday's game, the Cubs were ninth in the NL in walks and 15th of 16 in OBP.

-Maybe Derrek Lee is just missing, maybe he only has warning track power nowadays. The latter seems more likely to me. Lee hit another fly ball to the warning track Wednesday, and has been doing so a lot this year. Lee has managed to knock the ball over the fence once, but it seems like his bat only has about 370 feet of juice in it, or a little less if he hits it down the line.

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