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Santo in HoF

[ 87 ] December 5, 2011 |

I’m alternately pleased that he was finally selected and outraged he was denied the honor for which he was obviously overqualified while he was alive.   As for who the next sabermetric cause celebre should be with Santo and Blyleven in the Hall, this couldn’t be an easier question:

In other sports news, you would think that hiring me would have permanently quashed any hopes of athletic success.   But allow me to note the accomplishment of your Division II NCAA women’s soccer champion St. Rose Golden Knights. It was all the more satisfying for coming against archrival Springfield A&M Grand Valley State, those bastards.

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  1. Erik Loomis says:

    Certainly agreed on Raines although the low vote totals for Jeff Bagwell are so absurd as to take my attention away from the Raines outrage until this is rectified.

    • mark f says:

      Larkin too. This year’s new class of eligibles is like a “well, the rules do say that every team gets an All Star” Hall of Fame, so maybe there will be some movement on these guys.

    • Bagwell’s being dinged by the steroid witch hunt though, which is different than the issue a player like Raines faces, which is simply that his considerable talent was highly undervalued at the time.

      • Erik Loomis says:

        I know why Bagwell is getting dinged but it doesn’t make it any more outrageous given the complete lack of evidence that Bagwell juiced.

        • No, I agree, and personally I won’t even entertain the argument without a healthy dollop of scorn and derision.

          My own pet cause is Edgar Martinez, but that’s also a sepearate issue than Raines/Santo/Blyleven.

          • Erik Loomis says:

            I love Edgar as a huge Mariner fan and I think he should be in there, but to me he’s only about #5 or 6 on the list of the screwed, behind Raines and Bagwell to be sure but also Trammell, Whitaker, and Grich.

            • Well again, it’s a different nature of screwed to me. Edgar’s talent isn’t really being questioned, he’s being punished because his team decided playing him as a DH would help him stay healthy and in the lineup, and as a proxy for stodgy old writers to write a column about how much they hate the DH.

              • howard says:

                brien, admittedly, i’m long outed as a crank on the hall, but fwiw, i still hate the dh and will never accept it completely, and yes, i think that you should have to be a two-way player if you’re a non-pitcher and want to be in the hall of fame.

                (as a separate note to scott and c u n d gulag, believe it or not i’m still trying to pull together the data on “brett/edgar/ortiz/manny: who had the best 5-year run against the yanks….” it’s just a matter of finding a clear window to sit down and go through baseball-reference slowly, but i believe all the data is available there.)

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  I don’t think Edgar should be disqualified because he’s a DH. Indeed, it’s actually a pretty tough job in its own way, and it’s not obvious to me that a DH has significantly less value than a bad first baseman like Frank Thomas. OTOH, Thomas was probably better than Edgar, so I think he has to go in before I talk about Edgar, who of course I think should go too.

                • howard says:

                  well, we’re down to a definitional matter at this point, scott: ultimately, i don’t like the dh because it detracts from the beauty of the two-way tradeoff and the fact that there is no unlimited substitution.

                  i can accept that it has become part of the game and the records are the records and so on, but i still don’t have to want essentially a dh-only in the hall.

                  now, you’ve raised the right counter: there are plenty of great hit/poor field players in the hall, and in all likelihood, edgar could well have been one of them.

                  but, in his actual career, he wasn’t.

                  all of this parsing, of course, is that i happen to be a little brighter line than most: if i were to quantify it, i’d say that the hall should contain the top 1% of ballplayers and it actually contains about 1.5%, and at that margin is where i kvetch, even granting that obviously there are players as good as even that margin outside the hall.

                  (btw, i happen to agree that dhing is very tough: having to come to the plate cold rather than being involved in the game has often been cited by people adjusting to dhing or dhing on their day off from the field)

                • “now, you’ve raised the right counter: there are plenty of great hit/poor field players in the hall, and in all likelihood, edgar could well have been one of them.

                  but, in his actual career, he wasn’t.”

                  Right. Edgar played roughly a third of his career as a third baseman, and was pretty darn close to league average defensively. He was far from a heavy hitting butcher with the glove.

                • “i think that you should have to be a two-way player if you’re a non-pitcher and want to be in the hall of fame.”

                  I will take this seriously as soon as I see any reason to believe people ding great hitting but terrible fielding corner outfielders for being horrible defenders. Until then, it’s just anti-DH bias.

                  And that’s not even to pass judgment on the DH position itself. It’s perfectly fine to not like the existence of the DH, but to punish a player for having his manager put him there while the position existed is patently unfair, especially when they were as superb a hitter as Edgar.

                • howard says:

                  the short of it is, brien, i don’t think not being in the hall of fame is “punishment.” why should i?

                • howard says:

                  btw, brien, i just devoted 10 minutes of my life to compiling corner outfielders in the hall who are not veterans or old-times.

                  here’s the list; i wonder if you would be so good as to point out which ones on this list shouldn’t be here because of their terrible fielding:

                  aaron
                  brock
                  clemente
                  heilmann
                  henderson
                  kaline
                  kiner
                  medwick
                  musial
                  rice
                  robinson
                  ruth
                  simmons
                  stargell
                  waner
                  billy williams
                  ted williams
                  winfield
                  yaz

                  from the available stats, i would say that kiner, ted williams, billy williams, jim rice, and lou brock were all mediocre fielders (and frankly, i didn’t favor rice or brock for the hall anyhow), but i don’t believe there’s a single name on the list that fits your notion that somehow great hitters who were awful fielders were given a pass.

                  which takes us back to edgar: obviously if there had been a dh 50-75 years ago, it’s entirely possible that the likes of kiner or brock would have dh’d their careers away, but they had to play both ways, and they managed to do it adequately enough to make the hall.

                  but again, as i say: edgar was beloved in his community, respected among his peers, and extremely well-compensated for his skills. in what way is he being punished if he doesn’t end up in the hall?

          • Erik Loomis says:

            Also, Marvin Miller, but that’s a different beast.

      • DivGuy says:

        I don’t think Bagwell’s being “dinged” for steroids – or, better, we don’t know yet whether he is.

        Bagwell was massively underrated his entire career. He played in a terrible park for offense through most of his peak, and his greatness stemmed from a mix of all-around skills – good defense and baserunning, extra-base power, great batting eye – which don’t show up or don’t show up clearly in the traditional BA/HR/RBI slash line.

        Barry Larkin debuted at 51%, jumped to 62% in his second year, and is likely to be inducted this year. Ryne Sandberg debuted at 49% and made it in his third year. Bagwell looks to be a little behind their pace, and should be on track to be elected in a few years, barring a ballot apocalypse.

        It’s certainly possible that Bagwell is being dinged for steroids, but so far his trajectory looks very promising for a player who was always underrated.

        • “I don’t think Bagwell’s being “dinged” for steroids – or, better, we don’t know yet whether he is. ”

          There were multiple “I won’t vote for Bagwell because I’m suspicious he used steroids” columns last year, and Jeff Pearlman caused quite the ruckus when he declared that “everyone knows” all of the Astros players of that era were using.

          So yes, we do know that Bagwell got dinged over baseless non-accusations of steroid use.

      • Bill Murray says:

        I would guess a portion (probably small) of Raines issues may go back to his cocaine problems

  2. mark f says:

    I work with several people who went to Grand Valley State (our Michigan office is nearby). I’ll refrain from gloating, though, because I have a feeling

    “Haha, your school lost the DII women’s soccer championship!”

    “We did? To who?”

    “St. Rose”

    “Where’s that?”

    “Albany.”

    “Oh, did you go there or something?”

    “No. A guy whose blog I read works there.”

    would be an awkward conversation.

    But congrats to you and the players!

  3. sleepyirv says:

    Cooperstown needs to lower it’s percentage needed. Players who get to X% (Can’t remember the number off the top of my head) have ALWAYS gotten in and the 80% requirement just makes the whole process slower.

    There was absolutely no reason for needing the Veteran’s Committee to be the ones to vote in Santo.

  4. david mizner says:

    I’ve kind of stopped paying attention to baseball around the time Manny Ramirez was outed as a steroid user, but tell me, is Jack Morris in the hall yet? I don’t care what his career ERA is. The man was a workhorse and a clutch pitcher who won 20 games 3 times. I’ll take him over Blyleven any day.

    • mr. sc says:

      …and a thousand angry sabermetricians’ heads explode in 3..2..1…

      • mpowell says:

        Is this trolling, sarcasm or for real? I can’t honestly tell.

        • Gern Blanston says:

          I’ll say tongue-in-cheek trolling. The tone’s a little too perfect.

        • strannix says:

          Gonna go with “sarcasm” on this one, due to the feigned “is he in?” ignorance.

          • Gern Blanston says:

            Also, a true Morris backer wouldn’t even acknowledge the mediocre ERA (and knowing about it is inconsistent with “is he in?”).

          • david mizner says:

            My comment was sincere, I promise you. I vaguely understand that there’s a community of baseball nerds who congregate here but this is my first foray into a b-ball thread, so forgive me if I’m committing a desecrating the shrine dedicated to the guy who inspired that Brad Pitt movie. I used to be a big baseball fan myself, though not one who masturbated to statistics. I preferred to believe my own eyes, which demonstrated quite clearly that Jack Morris was a clutch pitcher who anybody in her right mind would pick to start the seventh game of the World Series over Bert “my curve ball is so pretty” Blyleven.

            Peace.

            • Robert Farley says:

              This is the kind of comment that leads people to decide not to take any of your comments seriously. “I preferred to believe my own eyes, which demonstrated quite clearly that Herman Cain was made of Presidential timber…” etc.

            • strannix says:

              OK, “trolling” then. My bad.

              • david mizner says:

                Well at the risk of unintentionally trolling some more — is Keith Hernandez in? If not, that’s a fucking crime, because he’s the greatest defensive first baseman’s anybody’s ever seen, although I suppose there’s now some statistic purporting to shows that defense isn’t as important as previously believed, or that Mattingly was, in fact, better.

                • strannix says:

                  is Keith Hernandez in?

                  Fortunately, an Internet has been created. Look it up.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  Hernandez should be in the Hall of Fame. It’s traditional old fart “Jack Morris’s 7-4 postseason record is so much clutcher than the 5-1 postseason record of the much better pitcher Bert Blyleven” sportswriters who have underrated Hernandez, not sabermetric types.

                  (And, of course, his numbers are clearly better than Mattingly’s.)

                • david mizner says:

                  Well, I admit I never saw BB in his pre-late seventies prime — I started really paying attention in 78 — so in this (rare) instance, I’m talking through my buttocks. Which doesn’t change my point about Morris. He deserves to be in, and the reason he’s not is of course that he was such an unpleasant fuck who hurt the fee-fees of reporters.

                • Gern Blanston says:

                  Of course, Mattingly’s not in the HOF either.

                • Thlayli says:

                  He deserves to be in, and the reason he’s not is of course that he was such an unpleasant fuck who hurt the fee-fees of reporters.

                  That didn’t keep Steve Carlton out.

                  Hell, the “unpleasant fuck” wing of the HoF is as old as the Hall itself (see: Cobb, T.)

            • Murc says:

              YOU, sir, have won all of the internets.

            • mark f says:

              If Jack Morris was president, Ben Nelson would’ve written the single-payer bill.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Are you trying to bait the readership on this one? Just warning you of the impending apocalypse to come….

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      I’ve kind of stopped paying attention to baseball around the time Manny Ramirez was outed as a steroid user

      OK, this clearly must be a parody of Pete Hammill. “I haven’t watched a baseball game since the Eisenhower administration, but I’m outraged that today’s players don’t use the same PEDs that the Brooklyn Dodgers, the only team anyone has ever cared about ever, did!”

    • I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not, but if you’re not, the synergy between baseball and politics here is beautiful.

    • Walt says:

      The real injustice is that the Hall of Fame doesn’t have room for great Americans like Chuck Norris or Ronald Reagan.

  5. snarkout says:

    Bagwell’s failure is a joke, as is Larkin’s. (I’d actually prioritize Sweet Lou over Raines, but neither one would diminish the Hall.)

    Can we talk about disbanding the Veteran’s Committee, though? There are already a ton of guys who shouldn’t be in there, and I’m worried that now that Santo, they’re going to start working their way down through Minoso to folks like Jim Kaat, who aren’t risible but certainly aren’t Small Hall or even Middle-Sized Hall guys.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      Thankfully, this isn’t the Frankie Frisch Veteran’s Committee where anyone who ever played with Frish, cleaned his uniform, cooked him a decent steak, or made a good cup of coffee for his hangovers, was voted in.

      WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too may old NY Giants, and a couple to many St. Louis Cardinals.

      And yeah, Raines – without a doubt!

    • JB2 says:

      I don’t know. There’s no doubt that this decision, the election of Santo, is a good one that improves the HOF. First, because Santo was a better player than the median HOF-er, and second, because 3B has traditionally been a neglected position.

      I would only worry about future foolish Vet Committee decisions if this decision was itself foolish, and it’s not.

  6. Jim Lynch says:

    Compared to two other recent picks by the HoF veteran committee ( Bill Mazeroski and Bobby Richardson being the other two), Santo is head-and-shoulders the most worthy. I wonder if the committee’s worthies held some grudges against Santo? It’s tough to figure out why the other two were admitted before him. Even if it’s simply a matter of bad timing, they look pretty silly.

    I remember Santo coming to Candlestick when I was a kid, and I always respected his talent. But it wasn’t until a late season collapse by Dusty Baker’s Cubs, when I heard an audio clip of him wail and gnash his teeth on their radio broadcast, that I appreciated the depth of his bleeding-heart passion for the team. “OH, NO, NO-OO, NO-OOO! OH, THIS IS TERRIBLE”! The guy was a riot.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Bobby Richardson

      ?

    • strannix says:

      Actually, you’re referring to a game in late 1998 (i.e., the Riggleman-led Cubs), in which Brant Brown dropped a fly ball late in a game in Milwaukee. The Cubs ended up winning the Wild Card anyway, but Santo’s call went on to become (instant) legend.

      • Gern Blanston says:

        This is correct.

        • Gern Blanston says:

          To expand: The Cubs let 7-5 with 2 outs in the 9th, bases loaded. Brown catches the ball, game’s over; instead, all three runners scored. The loss dropped the Cubs into a tie for the wildcard with the Mets (who would go on to collapse; however, the Giants, who were 1.5 games back after this, tied the Cubs to force a one-game playoff).

          Actually, the Giants had a shot to win the WC outright, but they were undone by a 9th inning homer by Neifi Perez.

          • JRoth says:

            The best part was that the next year Cam Bonifay decided to send Jon Lieber to the Cubs in exchange for Brown and (iirc) Todd van Poppel. Between that trade and Aramis Ramirez, the city of Chicago owes Pittsburgh reparations.

  7. JB2 says:

    I loved Tim Raines; he should definitely be in – but not before Lou Whitaker.

  8. KadeKo says:

    Miss Rock. Miss the Expos. Miss their classic ice-cream-white one-of-a-kind uniforms they wore until they went me-too-pinstripe-crazy for the 1990s. Miss the Vermont Expos, who didn’t have time to change their name officially with the NY/Penn League before the 2005 season. (And I thought it was good old New England cantankerousity.)

    I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with this kind of withdrawal until late February.

    Goddamn, I even miss Stade Olympique.

    PS I thought my list of “NCAA nicknames which sound weird for women” (Knights, Friars, Braves, Redmen*, Orangemen*, Rams, Bulls, etc) was complete.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      No one could ever miss the Olympic Stadium.
      No one!
      Not the architect.
      Not even the architect’s mother. At least not for baseball. I went to a game there in the late 70′s, and a WalMart parking lot has more charm.
      YUCK!!!
      Outside of the LA Coliseum, the worst venue for baseball ever (though I’m way too young, and born on the wrong coast, to have ever seen a game in the Coliseum).

      And Raines was great. I think his dalliance with cocaine might have kept him out earlier.

      • 4jkb4ia says:

        I have been to baseball games in the old Metrodome and Olympic Stadium and it is not a close question which was better. Olympic Stadium had the charm of baseball in French and a nice restaurant, there was no roof, and it was not obviously built for football. Also too (sigh), on the subway back to the hotel my sister recognized Bob Tewksbury and our family struck up a friendship with him involving the giving of hats. This was less impressive than when she recognized Coach K at halftime of “The Lion King”, though. This required recognizing Mrs. K. from ESPN.

        • KadeKo says:

          I’ve also been to football games there (in the era of the post-Baltimore new Alouettes, plus the 2001 Grey Cup), and it can’t be emphasized enough that the CFL field is 150 yards from backline to backline.

          That must make it a bother, even with movable stands, to make a semblance of football and baseball seating.

          Now Stade Molson, halfway up the Mont, with half of its seats giving a great view of downtown and the river? There’s a place for a football game!

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            1)Olympic Stadium was slightly better than the Kingdome and Exhibition Stadium. This is called “damning with slightly fainter damns.”

            2)I still remember Stade Molson when there was a tree growing out of the bleachers when we played intramural softball.

      • 4jkb4ia says:

        Agreed on the cocaine.

  9. patrick II says:

    A very nice video of Santo here. http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/66524267/News/WGN-video-Santo-s-son-talks-about-dad-named-to-Hall#pl-66524236

    I don’t think I have ever seen two members of one team loved as much by their community as Santo and Banks from the Cubs.
    I will just mention Musial because I couldn’t finish writing “loved in the community” without mentioning Stan the Man.

  10. Gern Blanston says:

    Wait–Bobby Richardson got it? Seriously?

    • Ken Houghton says:

      Well, he did never finish worse that 4th in Errors Committed by a Second Baseman. (Favorite link, this site, which notes that he “has more hits (13) in a World Series (1964) than any other major league player,” without mentioning that his error in Game 4 is directly responsible for Game 7 being needed–which produced two of those hits, not to mention that the final result goes for the other team.

      • Hogan says:

        Bill Jameson has pointed out that when Richardson led off for the 1961 Yankees, with over 700 plate appearances and 240 home runs coming up behind him, he scored 80 runs. How do you even do that?

        • c u n d gulag says:

          He and Tony Kubek were two of the worst 1-2 hitters in the history of baseball that were on a really good team.
          Or at least close.
          Proof?
          Kubek – .312 OBA.
          Ricahrdson – .295. 295!!! And a .261 BA. 295!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          If you can find any team in the modern era whose 1-2 hitters had those pathetic stats, you tell me.
          And they are the main reasons the 61 Yanks are NOT one of the best teams in history, and it’s a joke to even mention them – and this from a Yankee FAN!!!

          If the Yankees had, say, Grich at 2nd, and Larkin at SS, Mantle and Maris would have been real threats to Hack Wilson’s single-season RBI record, as well as Ruth’s HR one.

          Hell give ‘em Dick Groat and Red Schoendienst and they might have threatened the record!

          They were truly, truly, awful at the top of the lineup.
          THE WORST!

          But, it WAS the AL, after all, who continued to play 1950′s, station to station and wait for the 3-run HR, baseball far longer than the NL – and that explains their All Star Game losses in those years.

          Now, that worked for Earl Weaver, but he had guys who could get on base, unlike Richardson and Kubek, who couldn’t find first base with a GPS if they didn’t get a hit. Even Mark Belanger had better OBA’s in several season than those two guys.

          Nice guys.
          Good defense.
          But 1-2 hitters?
          Not from HUNGAH!!!

          • rea says:

            2011 Tigers might come close to those epic Yankees stats for the No. 1 and 2 hitters.

            • c u n d gulag says:

              Yes, rea, but no one will ever list the 2011 Tigers as one of the all time great teams, like a lot of people do the ’61 Yankees.

              And I’m sure if looked hard enough, there were some crappy teams who may have had their first 2 hitters with under .300 OBA’s. But that’s probably one of the reasons they were a crappy team.

              Just think how much greater that Yankee team would have been if it still had Rizzuto or Joe Gordon leading off.

              I was one of the people who thought that ’61 team was as great as everyone told me. Then I got into sabermetrics, and realized how many runs those two guys cost that team.

              Hell, they’d have been better off having Yogi and Ellie leading off, and having “The Milkshake Twins,” as they were dubbed by Mantle, at the bottom of the order.
              Ellie and Yogi wouldn’t have needed to run home much. Just stroll after the ball cleared a wall.

  11. JMG says:

    Dear Mr. Lemieux. I am a Hall voter. When my ballot arrives in the mail, I will vote for Raines, as I have since he got on the ballot. Hope that cheers you. This is likely his last shot for awhile as the surefire candidates and Steroid Era controversies come fast and furious in the next three years.

  12. Gern Blanston says:

    The coke thing is weird, but there’s a pattern: Raines, Hernandez and Parker are all out of the HOF. Who’s gotten in despite being outed as using cocaine? Molitor’s the only one I can think of.

    • Gern Blanston says:

      And yes, I realize Parker and Hernandez are borderline by HOF standards anyway, but one suspects the cocaine thing may have tipped the scales against them a bit.

    • Josh G. says:

      Fergie Jenkins was suspended in 1980 for being caught at Toronto customs with cocaine. Nonetheless, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.

      • JRoth says:

        Tail end of his career though, no? He may have been well enough established in writers’ minds that it didn’t torpedo his chances.

        Also, of course, that predated the ugly 1985 trials in Pgh. Less opprobrium.

      • rea says:

        The rule plainly is–no one other than Molitor who did cocaine gets in the Hall, unless the’ve gotten a Canadian postage stamp issued in their honor.

  13. Manju says:

    As for who the next sabermetric cause celebre should be with Santo and Blyleven in the Hall

    Tim Tebow.

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