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Sports Then and Now



By Any Measure Ron Santo Was a Hall of Famer 1

Posted on December 03, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Ron Santo averaged 23 home runs and 89 RBI in 15 Major League seasons.

Sad news being reported this morning that former Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo has passed away at the age of 70. Though remembered by many for his great play as the third baseman for the Chicago Cubs from 1960 through 1973, in recent years he has been best known for his courageous battle with diabetes and his inexplicable omission from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

His combination of power and excellent defense made him the best third baseman in the National League throughout the 1960s. Santo was a nine-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove selection.

From 1963 through 1970 he was consistently one of the best players in the league. He topped 30 home runs and 100 RBI four times during that stretch and had at least 26 home runs and 94 RBI in each of those eight seasons.

He finished in the top eight in the MVP voting four times, including fourth in 1967 when he hit .300 with 31 home runs, 107 runs scored and 98 RBI.

In 1969 he was fifth in MVP voting while finishing with 29 home runs and a career-best 123 RBI. However, that season is best remembered by Cubs fans for the collapse that saw the Cubs lose the NL East Division to the New York Mets by eight games after having led by nine games on August 16th.

It is that lack of having played on a winning team that many attribute as a major reason that Santo has never been able to take his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The statistics for his 15 year career, which ended with a single season with the Chicago White Sox in 1974, are comparable or better than a number of third basemen who have received the call from Cooperstown.

He blasted 342 career home runs and drove in 1,331 runs with a .277 batting average. Those numbers work out to 23 home runs and 89 RBI per season for 15 years, which is better than many players who have a plaque in the Hall of Fame. Read the rest of this entry →

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