A Man Finally Gets His Reward

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Baseball Hall Of fame recently restructured their method of inducting players who are no longer eligible to be voted upon by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The Hall announced a new Veterans Committee voting process on June 26, 2010, effective with the 2011 election process. The two biggest changes are:

  • Managers, umpires, executives, and players will now be considered on a single ballot.
  • Living Hall of Fame members will no longer constitute a single electoral body. Instead, separate subcommittees will be created to vote on individuals from different eras of baseball.
Candidates will be classified by the era in which they made their greatest contributions:
  • Pre-Integration (1871–1946)
  • Golden (1947–1972)
  • Expansion (1973 and later)
Candidates from each era will be considered every third year, starting with the Expansion Era in the 2011 election, followed by the Golden Era and then by the Pre-Integration Era.

From the official website: The Golden Era Committee shall consist of 16 members, comprised of members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, executives, and veteran media members. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. shall act as the non-voting chairman of the committee and shall act as non-voting Secretary of the Committee.

This year, the 16-member Golden Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson and Billy Williams; major league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) and Al Rosen (retired); and veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell and Dave Van Dyck. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Golden Era Committee.

After years of being overlooked by the old "Old-Timers" Committee, which appears to have been run with a "you help my guy, I'll help your guy" attitude, Ron Santo has been elected for entry.

This is very good and long overdue news.  It is also very sad, because after years of battling illnesses, including amputation of both his legs, from complications of diabetes, Ron Santo passed a year ago this week.

I am good friends with one of Ron's best friends.  I have met Ron and been in the broadcast booth at Wrigley through Gary.

I was on a road trip to North Carolina to a baseball camp with Matt when he was about 13 -14 one year when the "Old Timer's committee" made their announcement and Ron was not elected.  I called Gary from my cell to bitch about it and he happened to be with Ron in Arizona at Ron's winter home.  I told Gary about the trip Matt and I wee on.

Ron took the phone and we spoke for a few minutes then asked to speak with Matt "Hear he is going to a baseball camp".  I handed the phone to Matt and he and Ron Santo spoke for about 25-30 minutes about baseball with Ron asking questions about Matt's play behind the plate and situations.

Now Matt did not know who Ron was other than a baseball player, but he looked him up after that and Ron sent an autographed ball to Matt soon after.

He stayed 'in the game as a Cubs broadcaster and was truly beloved on the South North Side and beyond.

The man deserved to have the honor when he was alive. 

But,  think if you asked him about his legacy, he might want it to be about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's annual Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes in Chicago, which he was a big part of supporting from 1974 until his death, and raised over $60 million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). In 2002, Santo was named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's "Person of the Year". Santo also inspired Bill Holden to walk 2,100 miles from Arizona to Chicago, to raise $250,000 for diabetes research.

But for the record and to back up my claim...

This is the baseball player Ron Santo:
  • Santo was a nine-time National League All-Star
  • Led the league in walks four times, in on base percentage twice and in triples once. He hit for a .300 average and hit 30 home runs four times each,
  • s the only third baseman in major league history to post eight consecutive seasons with 90 RBI (1963–1970).
  • Won five consecutive Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence (1964–1968)
  • He set or tied National League records by leading the league's third basemen in total chances eight times, in games, putouts and assists seven times each, and in double plays six times.
  • From 1966 to 1974 he held the National League record for assists in a single season. Set National League records for career assists (4,532), total chances (6,777) and double plays (389) at third base (all of which were eventually broken by Mike Schmidt)
  • National League total of 2,102 games at third base fell 52 short of Eddie Mathews' league record, and he then ranked sixth in National League history in putouts (1,930) and ninth in fielding percentage (.954)
  • Santo led the league in double plays six times (1961, '64, '66–'68, '71), tying the major league record held by Heinie Groh (Schmidt also later tied this record) 
  • He led the National League in total chances every season from 1961 through 1968. 
  • He appeared at third base in every Cubs game from April 19, 1964 through May 31, 1966, establishing a league record with 364 consecutive games at the position 
  • His 164 games at third base in 1965 remain the major league record.

2 Of Your Sparks

  1. Travis Cody Says:
  2. This was long overdue, both the changes to the election process and the honor for Ron Santo. I hadn't heard this news yet. Thanks for your recap and thoughtful insights.

    What a treat for Matt.

    Hall of Famer Ron Santo...that is as it should be, and as it should have been for years.

  3. Dianne Says:
  4. didn't know about him
    quite a guy

    happy snow day
    and thanks for remembering my day :)


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