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Another Chance for Santo
by alex ciepley
Jay Jaffe has some great analysis over at Baseball Prospectus regarding the candidates available to the Veteran’s Committee choices in today’s Hall of Fame balloting.
While Ron Santo is a easy pick among Cubs fans, Jaffe’s study—in which he compares the candidates to current Hall of Famers—shows that Santo’s current spot outside Cooperstown should be considered a crime by all baseball fans:
Santo ought to be a slam dunk, especially at such an underrepresented position. His JAWS score is higher than about three-quarters of the enshrined hitters, and among third basemen, only Boggs (103.0), Mike Schmidt (102.8), Eddie Mathews (90.9), George Brett (90.2), and Paul Molitor (85.3) score higher. His peak score is astronomical; in fact only seven hitters reached more lofty heights: Babe Ruth (70.6), Ted Williams (69.0), Willie Mays (64.7), Rogers Hornsby (63.2), Mickey Mantle (62.6), Joe Morgan (61.9) and Boggs (61.6). You may have heard of them.
It’s not as if Santo was unheralded as a player. He was a nine-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove winner who placed in the top 10 in MVP voting four times. He had power (342 homer runs), he had plate discipline (he led the league in walks four times in a five-year span), he had defense (a Rate2 of 103, three runs above average per 100 games). The only thing he lacked was a pennant, but then again, so did teammates Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ferguson Jenkins, and they’re in; among that group, Santo outscores all but Banks (87.9). He’s the single best Hall-eligible hitter not already in, period.
We’re rooting for you, Ronnie. Results announced later today.