Say what you want about the late Ron Santo. He wore his heart on his sleeve. It did not take much time to figure out the 3 things he was most passionate about: 1. He loved the Cubs and wanted nothing more for them to break their century long World Series Championship drought.
2) He wanted to cure Juvenile Diabetes. Not only did Santo, a diabetic, raise awareness of the disease through his playing career and subsequent broadcast career, he also raised over 60 million dollars for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund)
3) He wanted to be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York in Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
It was obvious that he wanted to achieve all of those goals in his lifetime and the consummate competitor would not be satisfied until those missions were accomplished. On December 3, 2010 Santo passed away without achieving any of those lofty goals.
The most frustrating thing for me personally was the HOF snub. The other 2 goals will take much serendipity to accomplish, the HOF was a no-brainer. He definitely had a HOF career as a third baseman for the northsiders. I think 3 things shied voters away from voting for him when he was on the ballot as a player.
1) He never got to the post season and did not have a chance to wow the casual fan and generate enthusiasm beyond Chicago and the National League. There was no inter league play this time, so American League fans did not have much opportunity to see his body of work.
2) There were 3 more HOF worthy players on his own team. These men Ferguson Jenkins, Billy Williams and Ernie Banks were so worthy of the Hall of Fame that they have all been enshrined there. Many voters didn’t seem to want to put a 4th player there when the Cubs had little or nothing to show for such an honor.
3) He was no Brooks Robinson. While Santo, in my opinion, was definitely the best third baseman in the NL in his career, Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles was the best in the Majors.
I don’t think that any of these reasons were valid enough to keep him out of the HOF in the original voting or when he appeared on the Veteran’s committee ballot. For the above mentioned reasons or others the voters decided he was not HOF material.
Until now. Almost a year to the day after his death Cooperstown has come calling. The Ron Santo legacy is now 1/3 complete. Now we need to find a way to beat Diabetes and a team in the World Series.
|I wonder what team team they will enshrine him for?|