Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Santo's Cause Is Making Me Frown :-(

I probably am the only one who is more upset by (and wary of) the voting results revealed this afternoon from Cooperstown's Veterans Committee than those of Washington's gubernatorial race last November. That's probably because I care much more about baseball than I do politics, even though I should probably flip-flop that emotional priority -- if Munchausen's thesis (hopefully soon to be posted here on The Morsels) is correct that is...

Nevertheless, it's still the ire of Cubs fans everywhere, if not a lot of baseball fans in general. One of MLB's all-time best third basemen is still locked out of Cooperstown. Santo and Sandberg will not share the podium this summer. What a better way to unite this state than to have an Eastern WA guy sharing the Cooperstown podium with a Western WA guy. Okay, so the problems dividing our state are MUCH deeper than that. But still, it would've been at least a little symbolic for me. You didn't have to be a Cubs fan to cheer for a summertime Cooperstown podium-sharing between Santo and Sandberg.

I'm of the perspective that if a player is one of the best ever at his position, he should be enshrined in Cooperstown. That way, you have a guy like Ron Santo rightfully compared to other guys already in (Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Brooks Robinson, Eddie Mathews, etc..) rather than to guys like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, etc. Still, if you look at Baseball Reference's comps for Ron Santo, the top 5 most similar are all in Cooperstown (and only one of them was a third-sacker).

Sure, I'll give you that Santo was no Mike Schmidt -- amongst 3rd baseman, all-time, he's probably somewhere in the bottom of the top 15. But I don't think anyone can come up with more than 15 third basemen in the history of the game who were better all-around than Santo (there are only 12 third-sackers currently in the Hall, including the recently-elected Boggs). It's not like we're talking backup catcher or pinch-runner here. We're talking about the highly important #5 position in the infield. Still, if the game continues to evolve, and backup catcher and pinch-runner become a hugely important piece of the game, then, I suppose the best of them should be elected into Cooperstown, too.

Back in December, I suggested it was a good thing that the Veterans Committee exists to "cover up the messes the BBWAA can make." I'm not so sure now that they're paying attention.

Hang in there, Ron -- your day will come! If the sabermetric folks can lend their support (though I'm not a BP subscriber and only could extract what was summarized there), then even more reason your day will come. I don't care what propoganda Chair(wo)man Clark spews out:

The current process works by upholding the Hall of Fame's high standards for election and by providing a more open, more inclusive, and more understandable process.

The process is by no means understandable, and the standards are by no means clear. It took three rounds of votes for the BBWAA to get it right with Ryne Sandberg. That's problematic in and of itself.

I demand a revote!

Sidenote: Pete Rose, the player (in spite of what Pete Rose, the manager, did to get himself banned from baseball), should also be in Cooperstown. Whether or not he actually wilfully, knowingly took steroids, Barry Bonds has done more to scandalize the game of baseball today than Pete Rose ever did, and in my opinion should be sitting right next to Pete on the outside looking in. Okay, so this sidenote probably will get deleted at some point (or moved to another thread all together), but I just have to have somewhere to put these thoughts...


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