Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Ron Santo

Finally! Ron Santo Makes the Hall of Fame

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Folks, it is with great pleasure that I finally get to say this: former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo has finally made it into the Hall of Fame via the Veterans Committee (made up of former major league baseball players already in the Hall of Fame).  Santo was a nine-time All-Star, won five Gold Gloves for his fielding prowess, and hit 342 home runs in an age where that number meant something.  He was a career .277 hitter — again, this was in an era where there were many outstanding pitchers, before much of the expansion that diluted major league talent — and hit 30 or more home runs between 1964 and 1967.  (Or, if you are mathematically challenged as I sometimes am, that means Santo hit 30 or more HRs for four years straight.  That’s tough to do.)

Santo also was a well-known broadcaster for the Cubs for twenty years, until his death in 2010.  He was known for vocalizing when things went poorly — “Oh, no!  Oh, jeez!  Oh, man!” and the like — and also cheered when things went well.  (Even-handed, he was not.)  But fans loved him — including this Brewers fan — because Santo wore his heart on his sleeve and unabashedly loved both baseball and his Cubs.

See this link for further details:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AqFJrda2AKMBjVKWqsB0AUIRvLYF?slug=ap-halloffame

Santo also was one of the very first players to admit he had diabetes.  He was a hero to many precisely because he was open about his struggle; as Brooks Robinson alluded to (quoted in the Yahoo! Sports article I referenced):

“He’s just a terrific guy, he’s baseball through and through, he’s done a lot for the game of baseball in his career, and he’s been though a lot of hardships physically and he was just a terrific player,” he said. “He certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame. A long time coming. No one knows the reason he didn’t get in when the writers were voting, but this process we have has been the fairest, I think.” (emphasis mine — BC)

Santo was loyal, loved baseball, and was definitely someone the “common man” (sometimes called the “fan on the street”) could root for as he had problems, was open and honest about sharing them, yet never let them get him down.  I am glad, for Santo’s family and for baseball fans everywhere, that Santo has finally received his due — better late than never — as it’s great to finally be able to write these words:

Ron Santo (3B) — Chicago Cubs.  Inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame, 2012.**

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** Yes, this means that Santo is the first-announced member of the Class of 2012.  He’s been voted on in 2011, yes.  But he’ll still be a member of the Class of ’12.

** By the way, all the emphasis on the word “finally” is deliberate.  Santo’s omission from the HoF was a curious one — nearly as curious as the continuing omission of Buck O’Neal — and the only word that came to mind was the one I (over)used — finally.

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 5, 2011 at 11:48 pm