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Monday, June 26, 2006

Ron Santo

Eligible in 1980.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:31 AM | 119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:36 AM (#2075938)
He's going to be out first living HoMer/non-HOFer. Woo-hoo!
   2. DL from MN Posted: June 26, 2006 at 01:37 PM (#2076226)
Monte Irvin
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 01:51 PM (#2076236)
Monte Irvin

He's in the HOF, DL.
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 01:53 PM (#2076238)
He's in the HOF, DL.

Just to be more clearer, I meant not in the HOF as of 2006.
   5. JPWF13 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 02:18 PM (#2076263)
and here comes all the cub fans to spew hatred on Santo as being unclutch, as well as ask the eternal question:
How can a team which never won anything have 4 HOfers (Banks, Williams, Jenkins & Santo -if he makes it)

One problem the 1960s era Cubbies had was that their best players were out of synch, and teh supporting cast quite frankly sucked

Santo's highest OPS+ was 164 in 1964- that year Williams was at 147, Banks at 107 and ever other regular under 100, the outfield aside from Williams was particularly disgraceful- OPS+ of 84, 81, 77 (Lou Brock before he was Lou Brock)- only Doug Clemens in 140AB was better than Neifi-Level. Only one starter (on one pitcher with 50+ ip) had an era+ of better than 100. Terrible terrible team, if Santo (and Williams) weren't great it had 100 losses written all over it- they went 76-86...

The 1966 club went 59-103, Santo had an OPS+ of 161, Williams was good at 122, someone named Adolfo Phillips was good at 120, Banks was an unimpressive 105 (for a 1B) (Generally speaking after his knees went and he was moved to 1B, Banks was barely adequate at 1B most years- but he was seen as a superstar until the end)
But several regulars were below replacement level (including 2, Beckert & Kessinger who were inexplicably seen as being good players during their careers- ok not inexplicably, they had pretty good (if completely empty) batting averages for middle infielders...) and the bench was horrific, and the pitching staff? Aside from Rookie Fergie Jenkions, no one with more than 20ip had an ERA+ over 97. Just a REALLY bad team.

1967- Cubbies leap over .500, Santo had an OPS+ of 153, (who is this Adolfo Phillips guy?)
Pitching improved tremendously, still a few sinkholes, Kessinger, the bench was frightfully bad, their 4th starter (Culp/Simmons) sucked... A good team, deeply flawed, not a pennant winner.

The famous 1969 team? Santo lead all regulars with an OPS+ of 131, Williams was at 119, Jim Hickman was at 110, every other regular, Banks included was below 100 (The bench was actually half decent this year) The pitching was great though.

Wow, year after year this was a deeply flawed team, a team which for various reasons was incapable of taking the next step, even if someone in the org ever realized that they had to get better production out of 1b/2b/ss (and Leo Durocher realized Banks was a problem- but he didn't seem to realize 2b/ss were as well)- it may have been politically impossible to do anything, because teh problem players were widely perceived as being good.
   6. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 26, 2006 at 02:46 PM (#2076278)
Plus the 60's Cubs had to compete with the 60's Cards, Giants, and Dodgers, three teams with their share of deserving HOM/HOFers.
   7. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 02:55 PM (#2076283)
How can a team which never won anything have 4 HOfers (Banks, Williams, Jenkins & Santo -if he makes it)

I don't know
   8. LSR Posted: June 26, 2006 at 02:56 PM (#2076286)
who is this Adolfo Phillips guy?

Answer: One of the very first players hyped as "the next Willie Mays" (don't forget, Mays was only 33 when Phillips debuted in 1964). A "5 tool" guy before people used the term - an athletic CF that was going to steal bases and hit for power ...

Well he never became a star, but he had his moments. IIRC, he was a bit of a nut case and worried himself out of a promising career.

The Cubs hardly used him in '69 before trading him in June for utility man Paul Popovich - considering the black hole that CF was for the Cubs in that season there's probably a good story behind that move ... anybody remember?
   9. TomH Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:11 PM (#2076303)
I didn't follow baseball much in the sixties (being born during the last days of the Eisenhower presidency), so maybe some can edumacate me:

Did Santo suffer the press image of "the Cubs stink, and they have the great Ernie Banks, ergo Santo must not be that good"? It might seem Eddie Mathews could fall in the same category with the Aaron- and Spahn-led underachieving Braves.
   10. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:21 PM (#2076317)
How can a team which never won anything have 4 HOfers (Banks, Williams, Jenkins & Santo -if he makes it)

Banks never really overlapped with these guys in terms of HOM-level play. I suppose 1961 with Santo/Williams having fine rookie seasons in Banks last year at SS. Santo had a setback in 1962 and by the time he busted out in 1963, Banks' all-star caliber seasons were over.

Someone here (Howie?, DanG?) used to keep lists of used to keep lists of HOM teammates. What was the most impressive run of pennantless talent? The Indians have a ton of caps and only pennants in 1920, 48 & 54.
   11. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:22 PM (#2076319)
It might seem Eddie Mathews could fall in the same category with the Aaron- and Spahn-led underachieving Braves.

As the 'bums' have proven, a lot of forgiveness arrives when you get that first ring.
   12. JPWF13 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:34 PM (#2076321)
Speaking of the 1997 Mariners- top three starters (by ip) had ERA+ of 198, 125 and 117
and the team ERA+ was 94
WOW was that a bad bullpen


Just a note- Arod's last year with SEA, team ERA+ was 101
next year? it was 119.

Arod's last year with Texas, team ERA+: 87, the next year?: 111

see all the Yankees have to do is dump AROD and their pitching will miraculously* and dramatically improve.



*Said pitching improvement in both SEA and TEX have no apparent relationship to AROD's departure, neither team got pitching as a result of losing/trading AROD, neither team used $ allegedly saved to obtain pitching- both teams gave up fewer walks and homeruns after AROD left- SEA's improvembnt in giving up walks was truly stunning- but somehow, it was AROD's fault, his mere presence, his transcendent unclutchness harms his team's pitching staffs which rebound once he leaves...
   13. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:54 PM (#2076342)
The Cubs hardly used him in '69 before trading him in June for utility man Paul Popovich - considering the black hole that CF was for the Cubs in that season there's probably a good story behind that move ... anybody remember?

From this article:

Adolfo Phillips had a world of talent. But when his hitting slumped, he brooded, and when he brooded, Durocher berated him, and the more Durocher berated him, the more he brooded, and the more he brooded, the worse he slumped. In 1967 it had appeared that superstardom was a real possibility; by early 1969 Phillips was no longer a regular anyplace except Durocher's doghouse. The Cubs traded him in June of ’69 for Popovich, a move in which they got useful value in return, but which signaled a pattern for Cubs’ trades that would be repeated often in the next few years: the deal filled one hole, but opened up another. The Cubs needed a good utility infielder, and got one in Popovich, but they had no good replacement for Phillips in center field.

The Cubs first went with 23-year-old rookie Don Young. When he didn’t hit much, Durocher turned to 22-year-old rookie Jim Qualls, who hit even less. So it was back to Young, who hit less still. Finally in September Durocher installed 19-year-old rookie Oscar Gamble in center, who wasn’t ready for prime time either. Failure to come up with anything close to league-average performance in center field was the major weakness of the 1969 Cubs.
   14. JPWF13 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 04:28 PM (#2076364)
I read Leo the Lip's autobio years ago (GREAT BOOK btw, out of print now I think, Leo made little effort to disguise the fact that he was a scumbag, great baseball man, but a complete prick nonetheless)- don't recall any mention of Adolfo... He loved Billy Williams, hated Banks...

HE loved Mays, as far as Leo was concerned Mays was #1, Ruth was a close #2, and whoever #3 was he was so far back it didn't matter (He hints that Cesar Cedeno should have/ could have have been #3...)

I suspect that being called the next Willie Mays probably gave 2.75 strikes against Adolfo in Leo's eyes. He was really good as a 24/25 year old, even his range factors (for whatever they're worth) were above average. Unfortunately the era, the deadball 1960s obscured the fact that he was good.
   15. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: June 26, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#2076368)
Adolfo Phillips was/is a pretty notorious name amonst the Bleacher Bums and Cubs fans of that era. He's a bit before my time, but I've heard people essentially compare him to what the Cubs had in Corey Patterson -- i.e., a talented kid who had the potential to be quite good, but never really got it together and let himself get psyched out or otherwise mentally screwed up.
   16. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 04:36 PM (#2076372)
Unfortunately the era, the deadball 1960s obscured the fact that he was good.

It didn't obscure it at the time. In 1966-67, Phillips was widely considered one of the best young outfielders in baseball, knocking on the door of major stardom. In the trade that brought him to the Cubs in early 1966, Phillips was considered the prize prospect, Ferguson Jenkins the "other guy."
   17. JPWF13 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 04:44 PM (#2076377)
t didn't obscure it at the time. In 1966-67, Phillips was widely considered one of the best young outfielders in baseball, knocking on the door of major stardom.

I'm forced to take your word for it as that was just right before my time so to speak.

The guy I recall being touted endlessly as the next great OF who didn't make it was Ollie Brown- who was actually half decent (serviceable 3rd OF- good 4th OF)- but you're not allowed to be half decent when you're supposed to be a star...
   18. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 04:49 PM (#2076381)
The guy I recall being touted endlessly as the next great OF who didn't make it was Ollie Brown- who was actually half decent (serviceable 3rd OF- good 4th OF)- but you're not allowed to be half decent when you're supposed to be a star...

Brown suffered from the "next Willie Mays" phenomenon too .. the Giants gave him uniform #25 and everything. Patently unfair. When Brown broke a finger and slumped in early 1968, they sent him back to AAA, and replaced him with the next next Willie Mays: Bobby Bonds, also given #25.
   19. JPWF13 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2076388)
they sent him back to AAA, and replaced him with the next next Willie Mays: Bobby Bonds, also given #25.

In one of the Abstracts it was noted how SF developed one good OF after another, and except for Bonds managed to squander all that talent- because they compared every good young OF to Mays, and suprise suprise everyone was found wanting- They got a few good years out of Bonds only bcause for a few years they thought he really was the next Mays...
   20. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:02 PM (#2076391)
Brown suffered from the "next Willie Mays" phenomenon too .. the Giants gave him uniform #25 and everything. Patently unfair. When Brown broke a finger and slumped in early 1968, they sent him back to AAA, and replaced him with the next next Willie Mays: Bobby Bonds, also given #25.

I love the Bill James essay on this in the NHBA. The Giants in the 60's and 70's would use the Willie mays standard for evaluating their OF prospects. If they weren't as good as Willie Mays, they'd be shipped out; Kingman, Foster, Gary Matthews, Gary Maddox...

"For a few years they thought Bobby Bonds was Willie Mays, but then they discovered he wasn't, so they traded him too."
   21. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:04 PM (#2076392)
I guess I should refresh before I post.
   22. Mefisto Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2076398)
The list of outfielders who came through the Giants system between 1958 and 1975 is staggering. Off the top of my head, there were Felipe, Jesus, and Matty Alou, Manny Mota, Willie Kirkland, Leon Wagner, Ollie Brown, Bobby Bonds, Ken Henderson, Garry Maddux, Gary Mathews, and Jack Clark. Steve probably remembers a few more.
   23. Mefisto Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:11 PM (#2076399)
Damn, forgot Foster.
   24. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2076400)
Horace Stoneham's ownership truly was one of the most fascinating in history. In the first place, unlike other independently wealthy owners of that time (and of course today), the Giants were Stoneham's family business. Running the team was what he did for a living. He had a front office, and for years he gave his nephew Chub Feeney the title of General Manager, but for all practical purposes Stoneham himself had the final say on every significant decision.

And Stoneham was obviously had tremendous baseball acumen. With Carl Hubbell handling the details, Stoneham built a phenomenal scouting system and minor league organization, that produced staggering talent from the late 1940s onward. Year after year after year, the Giants' farm system gushed with exceptionally good young players.

Knowing what to do with them at the major league level, and especially in how to negotiate trades, was where Stoneham proved less skilled. And after about 1967 or so, his judgement really began to slip, and when the franchise encountered fiscal struggles once the A's arrived in 1968 and ate into their revenue stream, things got a bit desperate. But Stoneham is generally rememembered today (if he's remembered at all) as a bit of a clownish figure, a genial, besotted old uncle type. That really misreads him.
   25. JPWF13 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2076403)
Back to Santo-
Here we have a guy who is well above the HOF standards FOR HIS POSITION, but

1: The casual fan and the baseball media are either unaware or simply deny that Santo meets accepted standrads for his position;
2: Played for a well known team that was regarded both at the time and now as underachieving.
3: To the extent that the team is regarded as underacheiving, Santo seems to be blamed by fans of that team for being unclutch
4: To the extent that the team is re-evaluated, and people decide that it wasn't really all that good, the prominant player who gets downgraded is Santo, rather than players like Banks, Kessinger and Beckert who really were not as good as believed during the time (Banks was a great player- just not when the late 60s cubbies were a contending/underachieving team)


Basically as far as the HOF is concerned, he's screwed. Outside of stathead sites whenever his HOF candidacy is mentioned, the outright HOSTILITY the mention of his name brings out is actually pretty suprising. There are just too many "no way in hell" votes, for those in favor of his candidacy to overcome. I can't think of any borderline candidate who brings out so many who just want to say no. (Well maybe Dick Allen...)
   26. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:20 PM (#2076410)
Damn, forgot Foster

And Kingman.

As James pointed out, in 1979 Dave Kingman hit .288/48/115, George Foster hit .302/30/98, Bobby bonds hit .275/25/85, Gary Matthews hit .304/27/90, and Gary Maddox hit .288/11/68 and won his 6th straight gold glove in CF. The Giants meanwhile had Larry Herndon, Terry Whitfield, and Bill North (along with Jack Clark) in the OF.
   27. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2076414)
As James pointed out, in 1979 Dave Kingman hit .288/48/115, George Foster hit .302/30/98, Bobby bonds hit .275/25/85, Gary Matthews hit .304/27/90, and Gary Maddox hit .288/11/68 and won his 6th straight gold glove in CF. The Giants meanwhile had Larry Herndon, Terry Whitfield, and Bill North (along with Jack Clark) in the OF.

Why don't you just f@cking knee me in the groin and bash me over the head with a tire iron why'll you're at it. That will help ease the pain.
   28. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2076418)
3: To the extent that the team is regarded as underacheiving, Santo seems to be blamed by fans of that team for being unclutch
4: To the extent that the team is re-evaluated, and people decide that it wasn't really all that good, the prominant player who gets downgraded is Santo, rather than players like Banks, Kessinger and Beckert who really were not as good as believed during the time


This hits the nail on the head. If the Cubs had won just a division flag in '69 or '70, Santo is probably long since in the HOF. Instead, he gets the "blame the team's best player for the failings of its worst players" treatment.
   29. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:29 PM (#2076423)
How can a team which never won anything have 4 HOfers (Banks, Williams, Jenkins & Santo -if he makes it)

I don't know

That's nothing. How about a team with 5 HoFers in its everyday lineup in an 8-team league not making the Series? Yea, I know, some of those are real shaky HoFers, but 2 are all time greats, and a third was the best regarded third baseman of his day. And the team had at least 3 HoFers in their starting 8 every year that decade.


I read Leo the Lip's autobio years ago (GREAT BOOK btw, out of print now I think, Leo made little effort to disguise the fact that he was a scumbag, great baseball man, but a complete prick nonetheless)

I think that book is wildly overrated. It is to baseball books what The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle is to rockumentaries. In both cases its often lauded as a great example of a fantastic and unusually honest account of the subject matter. In both cases the work is if anything more dishonest and deceitful than normal, BUT seems honest because it abandons the normal storyline. Swindle tells the story of the Sex Pistols from their manager's point of view and claims the band was terrible, but only made it because of his (the manager's) wonderful manipulation of the press, music industry, & society as a whole.

In "Nice Guys" Durocher admits up front that he's a massive prick (why not? Would anyone really believe him if he claimed otherwise) but presented himself as the man who only cares about winning, and will do whatever it takes to get there. He ends up portraying himself as a different baseball hero -- not a nice person, but the ultimate fighter; the Ultimate Old Schooler, if you will.

There's more than a kernel of truth to the Durocher storyline (in that it's far more accurate than Swindle), but there's problems, too. I read it & 2 other baseball books at the same time - Red Barber's wildly overrated "1947: The Year All Hell Broke Loose" & "Jocks" by Jim Bouton's Ball Four co-author. Very interesting trio to put together, though none were really that great.

Barber tells some stories that Durocher leaves out about the Dodgers. How in 1942 they had a series of all-night poker games Durocher took part in just before/during their big series against the Cards, and how they sure played like a dead tired team. How the players caught Durocher lying to them and Branch Rickey had to step in to quell a revolt (Durocher didn't have that much longer with the club after that). Durocher won't tell you these stories -- they don't fit in with the image his trying to project.

"Jocks" is a lousy book except for a 2-3 page section on the Big League Manager, a composite of several managers. The BLM is an old guy who's been fired twice. He doesn't want the team to be bad, but isn't in a hurry to make them too good, because that puts more pressure on them and on his job. The BLM tells everyone he's in it for the love of the game, but in reality he had a reputaion as a sharp dresser and lover of a high-rolling lifestyle as a player, and outside of baseball he's got no way to subsidize this life he likes. He's been married and divorced multiple times, and has a girlfriend in every town.

It's not fair to say that Durocher is the BLM, but there are parrellells (no, I can't spell that word worth a damn, sorry). Durocher keeps getting married and divorced in the background of the book. He'd been fired twice. He briefly mentions early in the book that he'd acquired a taste for the good life early in his career and liked the good clothes and so forth. . . . And if a person really is a huckster, and mostly interested in promoting himself, what's the best way to do it? Present oneself openly as a huckster? Or try to find a role you can step into and claim you're that role? The latter's the better course.

It's not a perfect black/white issue as in many ways Durocher was the ultimate old schooler, but you better bring the hipboots if you're going to wade through "Nice Guys" because it gets pretty deep at times. But nothing's ever Durocher's fault there. The Cubs collapse in '69? Well the players didn't care and violated their bedchecks. What could he do? His departure from Brooklyn wasn't his fault either. He was always the guy who cared only about winning. Sure.
   30. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2076426)
Santo seems to be blamed by fans of that team for being unclutch

This reminds me of when the Dodgers dumped Mike Piazza with the LA media cheering along as it happened. Kinda makes you scratch your head and kinda makes me glad we are doing this project.

Unclutch? His whole career is in retrosheet. Detractors can back up their claims with play-by-play data if they like.
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2076429)
In regard to Santo's upcoming induction (which I'm pretty confident about), should we try to contact him about it? Unlike others who we have given the honor, he might actually enjoy our recognition of his career.
   32. sunnyday2 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:37 PM (#2076437)
>That's nothing. How about a team with 5 HoFers in its everyday lineup in an 8-team league not making the Series?

'Course every team from that era had 5 HoFers on it.
   33. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2076442)
Here we have a guy who is well above the HOF standards FOR HIS POSITION, but

1: The casual fan and the baseball media are either unaware or simply deny that Santo meets accepted standrads for his position;
2: Played for a well known team that was regarded both at the time and now as underachieving.
3: To the extent that the team is regarded as underacheiving, Santo seems to be blamed by fans of that team for being unclutch
4: To the extent that the team is re-evaluated, and people decide that it wasn't really all that good, the prominant player who gets downgraded is Santo, rather than players like Banks, Kessinger and Beckert who really were not as good as believed during the time (Banks was a great player- just not when the late 60s cubbies were a contending/underachieving team


Don't forget the "short career" canard, which is frequently brought up even here. This myth persist because Santo retired young, and only 1 year removed from a productive season.

But of course it overlooks the fact that a) he started very young, and b) was exceptionally durable.

Santo played 2130 games at third despite retiring at age 34. Mike Schmidt and Wade Boggs both played less than 100 more, Brett far fewer. I never heard "short career" about any of them. Geroge Kell, pie traynor, fred lindstrom, all played fewer than 200 games at thrid. The only HOF thirdbaseman to play significantly more was Brooks. He had played only a few more by age 34, and was no great shakes after age 34.
   34. JPWF13 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2076448)
Swindle tells the story of the Sex Pistols from their manager's point of view and claims the band was terrible, but only made it because of his (the manager's) wonderful manipulation of the press, music industry, & society as a whole.

I'm gonna get flack for this, but
the band was terrible (Yes I have Never Mind the Bullocks- the most overrated album in the history of Rock n Roll- btw some songs are enjoyable, but the band was godawful), the whole sex pistols phenomon was manufactured

what's really funny was that the music put out by the ex-sex pistols got progressively less interesting the more some ex-members actually learned you know- how to sing, play instruments, etc.
   35. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:44 PM (#2076450)
Geroge Kell, pie traynor, fred lindstrom, all played fewer than<strike>200</strike> 2000 games at third
   36. Mefisto Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:44 PM (#2076451)
And Kingman.

I left him out because he wasn't really an OF. Of course, he wasn't really anything but a DH, so maybe I should have included him.

If you're not worn out using that tire iron on Steve, I've got some bad memories I'm sure it would cure.
   37. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:45 PM (#2076455)
Don't forget the "short career" canard, which is frequently brought up even here. This myth persist because Santo retired young, and only 1 year removed from a productive season.

I've been guilty of it myself. Mea culpa.

Fact is, however, that the lack of anything resembling a typical decline phase, a few years of so-so production in a platoon role, at the end of the career does cost Santo. It costs him more than it should, certainly, but it does cost him something real in career value.
   38. JPWF13 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2076476)
It's not a perfect black/white issue as in many ways Durocher was the ultimate old schooler, but you better bring the hipboots if you're going to wade through "Nice Guys" because it gets pretty deep at times.

I assume every auto-bio is full of it, still loved Nice Guys, whereas other auto-bios- eh...

Of course I would never take Leo's word at face value. While he admits that he sucked as a hitter, he insists that in his prime he was the best defensive SS in ALL of MLB- no false modesty for him. He claims that Alston was the worst manager of all time, but that Leo, by being insubordinate almost saved the 1962 Dodgers from Alston's historic mismanagement (Alston already had 2 World Series Championships to his record and would eventually get two more- Leo had one).
Plus, I don't think Leo realized how much of a scum bag he came accross as in his AutoBio, reading between the lines a lot was unintentional- he simply didn't realize how his observations would make him appear to a neutral observer- he wanted to appear heroic- and only as self-effacing as necessary.
   39. jmac66 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:03 PM (#2076478)
"You and Durocher are on a raft. A wave comes and knocks him into the ocean. You dive in and save his life. A shark comes and takes your leg. Next day, you and Leo start out even." - Dick Young
   40. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:10 PM (#2076492)
Iv never seen the cubs fans here saying that Santo was unclutch. hell most of us have man crushes on him.
   41. DL from MN Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:14 PM (#2076497)
Would Santo be interested in hearing of his induction? Would he bring it up on air? Is there some sort of letter we could send the guy to let him know how he was selected and that it was on the first ballot?
   42. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:19 PM (#2076504)
Fact is, however, that the lack of anything resembling a typical decline phase, a few years of so-so production in a platoon role, at the end of the career does cost Santo. It costs him more than it should, certainly, but it does cost him something real in career value.

I wonder if you slightly rearrange Santo's career. Take away his age 20 and 21 seasons. Start him as a 22 year old rookie in 1962 hitting .227/.302/.358. Then, let his career run its course through age 33. Then, insert his age 21, 20, and 34 seasons at ages 34-36.

Same exact production, but slightly different (but potentially significant) shape. 22 year old rookie struggles with the bat, but plays every day and gives good defense. Explodes offensively the next year, and remains a very productive regular, both offensively and defensively for 12 years. Age then starts to take its toll, as he is relegated to slightly more than half time play, with big offensive downgrades at ages 35 and again at 36.

I think that player would have garnered far more support from the writers.
   43. jingoist Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#2076507)
When did the diabetes set in for Santo?
Was his play affected by conditions of the disease?
You better induct him soon cause there seems to be less of the guy (not meant to be morbid/sick here) every time I see him on TV.
I was always a big Santo fan; still am.
Frankly I liked him better than any other Cub of the 60's.
   44. sunnyday2 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:28 PM (#2076513)
About them Giants...no, wait, about Ron Santo!

The question before us is whether Santo is the best 3B available?

WS

Santo 322/38-36-32-30-28-26-26-21-19-19-18-13 (12 years > 10)
Hack 312*/33-31*-30-26-25-23-23-22-19-19*-17-13-12* (13, * WWII years adjusted)
Boyer 279/31-28-27-24-24-23-22-17-16-14-13 (11)
Elliott 279*/29-27-27-24*-23-22-22*-18#-18-18*-16#-12#-11 (13, *WWII adjusted, #mostly OF)
Traynor 274/28-26-26-22-22-22-21-21-20-20-17-13-11 (13)
Williamson 274*/33-31-30-29-27-27-24-23-18-17-15 (11 years, *all adjusted for season length)
Rosen 212*/42-31-29-27-27*-25-16-15 (8, *1 MiL MLE year)

OPS+

Rosen 139/181-62-48-46-46*-25-4-3 (8, *1 MiL MLE year)
Santo 125/162-61-53-44-35-28-28-24-20-12-9-5 (12 years > 100)
Elliott 124/148-45-43-38-28-23-19*-19*-12#-5#-0 (11, * WWII years adjusted, #mostly OF)
Hack 119/143-43-32-28-28-25-20*-10-7*-4-3 (11, * WWII years adjusted)
Boyer 115/139-32-28-27-23-21-21-13-1 (9)
Williamson 112/149-48*-30-16-26-11-7-1-0 (9, * 1884 adjusted downward [27 HR reduced to 2B])
Traynor 107/124-24-18-12-12-11-8-7-6-5-0 (11)

Defense

Traynor 79 dWS, B
Williamson 77 dWS, A
Boyer 70 dWS, B+
Santo 68 dWS, B-
Hack 66 dWS, B-
Elliott 52 dWS, B-
Rosen 36 dWS, B

The question before us is whether Santo is the best 3B available?

Yes.

Ed Williamson strikes me as a clear #2, however, with everybody else pretty close--Hack, Rosen, Boyer and Elliott--except Traynor, who clearly trails.
   45. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:42 PM (#2076528)
Same exact production, but slightly different (but potentially significant) shape. 22 year old rookie struggles with the bat, but plays every day and gives good defense. Explodes offensively the next year, and remains a very productive regular, both offensively and defensively for 12 years. Age then starts to take its toll, as he is relegated to slightly more than half time play, with big offensive downgrades at ages 35 and again at 36.

I think that player would have garnered far more support from the writers.


I think so too, simply because the career has a more normal shape. Because what actually happened, even though the total production is identical, is more than a bit weird: going from an All-Star at age 33 to a bad player at age 34 to gone, just like that. It certainly left the impression (valid or not) of short career, and it truly was a very abrupt end at an age when abrupt ends don't normally occur.
   46. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:49 PM (#2076535)
When did the diabetes set in for Santo?

I could be wrong, but I believe it was in childhood or adolescence.

Was his play affected by conditions of the disease?

It's impossible to know. Surely it didn't help him.
   47. Ace the Bat-Hound, not a bumblebee Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#2076536)
Hey there; I very briefly participated in the HOM probably "half a century" ago (I was a friend of DICKEY PEARCE~!) under a different username. These recent elections seem to be getting really interesting, and I might just hop back in.

To me, any "personality" stuff around Santo is 99% smoke and 1% fire; it's almost entirely Durocher being a strange man and the Cubs' failings as a team. The very legitimate question I have about Santo is his home/road splits: 296/383/522 at home, 257/342/406 on the road (216/126 in HR). That's a massive split; i.e., doubling the road stats, although I guess it would still give you a perfectly fine player given the era, still doesn't give you anything near a HOMer. Now, I know it's inappropriate to double the road stats... but, how much precisely are you gonna lop off his statline that clearly was inflated by a huge hitter's park, and is not a "waltz right in" statline to begin with? Honestly, it seems to me that sabermetricians never address this issue with Santo, and I'd like to hear a principled defense of it.
   48. JPWF13 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:02 PM (#2076556)
Because what actually happened, even though the total production is identical, is more than a bit weird: going from an All-Star at age 33 to a bad player at age 34 to gone, just like that.

Kevin Keltner of Keltner list fame, all-star caliber at 31, bad at 32 and gone.

I think that prior to free agnecy and multi-year contracts that was pretty common. A really bad year after 30, and people thought a player was done, he'd be offered a pay cut to come back and no guaranty of a job, the player might think it wise to start on his non-playing career/life.

Now, too much money, a player might turn in an awful season, but teh team owes him $$$ for 3 more years, he's not going to retire and the team is going to give him every opportunity to see if he has something left in the tank. Lo and behold, a lot of players who in past years who have retired (voluntarily or involuntarily), or lost all playing time, turn out to have some bounce back. For instance, Burnitz age 33 in 2002, in past years a player liek Burnitz coming off a year like Burnitz had at age 33 would retire/be retired, come back as a PH/mentor. Now, a player like Burnitz is making too much money- the team has to (or thinks it has to) see if he's got anything left- and Burnitz did.

Or a 3b- Gary Gaetti- looked like burnt toast at age 33, (oddly enough Gaetti is tied for Santo's top BBREF comp) give Santo Gaetti's post age 34 career and Santo's in.
Well Santo plus Gaetti from age 35 on has 2930 hits, 457 homers and 1750 rbis.

Assuming Santo had some bounceback after his age 34 season I think that what Gaetti did from age 35 on was reasonably within Santo's ability. but Santo retired.
   49. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:07 PM (#2076562)
I think that prior to free agnecy and multi-year contracts that was pretty common.

It was less uncommon that it is in the free agency, multi-year contract era, but it was never common. Keltner's quick end was similarly unusual.

Most star players, HOF-caliber or close to it players, have always tended to have at least a couple of years of wind-down, part-time, no-longer-a-star-but-still-making-a-contribution at the end of their career. Going from star to gone in 2 seasons has never been common.
   50. LSR Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:21 PM (#2076582)
Was his play affected by conditions of the disease?

It's impossible to know. Surely it didn't help him.


Years ago I read an article on Santo's diabetes in which he describes a games in which his sugar was out of whack - in his last at bat he had to decide which of the two balls he was seeing was the one he should be swinging at. He guessed right and hit a homerun. I assume that just as often he guessed wrong. Did his diabetes affect his play? How could it not have?

Oh and btw, nice to see you coming around on the length of career issue, Steve. IIRC you were quite emphatic about it in the past.
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#2076619)
Oh and btw, nice to see you coming around on the length of career issue, Steve. IIRC you were quite emphatic about it in the past.

I think I debated Steve about it a while back myself, but I have debated may people about it over the years, so I can't remember them all. :-)
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:48 PM (#2076624)
Ace the Bat-Hound

A Cartoon Network fan? ;-)
   53. Ace the Bat-Hound, not a bumblebee Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:07 PM (#2076654)
A Cartoon Network fan? ;-)
Hey, everyone knows that Ace was the real brains of the outfit.
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#2076661)
By the time I started reading Batman comics during the seventies, Ace, Bat-Hound (not to mention Bat-Mite) were relegated to the past, so I'm only familiar with the TV incarnation because of my niece.
   55. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:13 PM (#2076662)
Going from star to gone in 2 seasons has never been common.

In addition to Keltner

Lou Boudreau
Bobby Doerr
Dom DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joe Gordon


I'm not saying this disproves the general theory, but it seem to be somwhat common in the late 40's AL.
   56. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#2076671)
Also:

Roy Cullenbine
Hank Greenberg
   57. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:26 PM (#2076686)
I'm not saying this disproves the general theory, but it seem to be somwhat common in the late 40's AL.

It was far more common in the AL in the late 40s/early 50s than it generally has been otherwise. But even on your list there, "from star to gone in 2 seasons" without extenuating circumstances really only applies to the DiMaggio brothers:

- Boudreau, after his great 1948, had one season as a good regular, followed by two seasons as a useful utility man.

- Doerr suffered a career-ending back injury.

- Gordon left the majors, but didn't retire from baseball; as the player-manager for Sacramento of the PCL in 1951, he hit 43 homers.
   58. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:31 PM (#2076697)
Greenberg famously retired to go work for Bill Veeck. Cullenbine's career end was just plain weird; not only that he vanished from the majors while obviously still good, but also that he had the extreme how-BA, high-HR year in '47.
   59. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:44 PM (#2076723)
Cullenbine's career end was just plain weird

Is that an extenuating circumstance?

I did not know about Doerr.

I was pushing it with Boudreau, but I think you are pushing the extenuating circumstance thing WRT Gordon and Greenberg. Their playing careers ended not too far removed from stardom.

So, I count Keltner, the DiMaggios, Gordon, and Cullenbine.

Something to do with the war maybe? I don't mean physical injuries, but something psycological? Like "After what I've seen and gone through, baseball just doesn't mean as much."

Or maybe just a fluke.
   60. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#2076738)
Something to do with the war maybe? I don't mean physical injuries, but something psycological? Like "After what I've seen and gone through, baseball just doesn't mean as much."

Or maybe just a fluke.


It might be just a fluke, since nothing like it seemed to be going on in the NL. But I've read speculations about it that have to do with not just the war and the way that having gone through it (and, for example, Greenberg went through it in a big way, having seen plenty of combat in the Pacific theatre) might have made one tend to view life as short and needing to be lived now.

But it might also be a function of economics: in the late 40s and early 50s, the US economy boomed. Some of these guys may have suddenly found themselves with economic opportunities outside of baseball (I think this was the case with Dom D.) that made the rigor of playing ball seem not so attractive.

At any rate, it isn't a phenomenon one will find many examples of through the decades of MLB (outside of pitchers suddenly hurting their arms, of course).
   61. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#2076771)
At any rate, it isn't a phenomenon one will find many examples of through the decades of MLB (outside of pitchers suddenly hurting their arms, of course).

If not for his un-retirement, Ryne Sandberg would be one. His comeback seasons in 1996 and 1997 don't add much to his overall value, and add nothing to his greatness, but without them he's another superstardom to gone in two seasons and may well not make the hall.
   62. Rob_Wood Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:27 PM (#2076981)
Santo had the reputation from cub fans who did not give him much respect as hitting into a lot of double plays, especially in key situations. He was a right-handed hitter who was slow and hit a lot of ground balls to the left side.

I would appreciate it if someone could take a look at this issue since it is one that keeps me off his bandwagon.

Also, as pointed out elsewhere, the Cubs home/road splits are often extreme since they largely conflate the home field advantage with the day/night splits.

Santo will definitely be an interesting comparison of HOM vs HOF.
   63. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:51 PM (#2077012)
Also, as pointed out elsewhere, the Cubs home/road splits are often extreme since they largely conflate the home field advantage with the day/night splits.

Nontheless, that is part of his home advantage, no? It shouldn't be discounted

However, when you have a league with extreme parks, as in this case, isn't there an effect of players having an extreme park factored out of their splits? Santo's road splits do not include game in Wrigley, but do include Shea, LA, and Houston, whereas every non Cub does. likewise, Dodger and Astro players do not have there extreme pitcher's park in their road splits like Santo does, but do have Wrigley.
   64. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:05 AM (#2077028)
What I mean is this. Take 1968. Wrigley Field had a PF of 107. LA had a PF of 92. Thus, a Cub player faced an average PF of 99 on the road, while a Dodger faced a PF of 101. Not huge, but it can be a small factor.
   65. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:12 AM (#2077108)
Weird Career Shape Poster Boy: HoMer George Sisler

Chris F. notwithstanding, Santo's Weird Career Shape is not gonna hold him back for 45 years.

Never heard of Kevin Keltner.... who's that? (Or do you mean his brother Ken?)

Some people give Keltner's successor as Indians' 3B an MLE year for being held back in the minors "too long." He was of course held back by, well, by evil management, but also by Ken Keltner. Should we dock Keltner a year, then?
   66. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:55 AM (#2077195)
Six straight WS Gold Golve Awards (1963-68) and yet a "B-" rating. Anyone know what is up with that?
   67. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 02:42 AM (#2077282)
Well, the criteria for Gold Gloves have nothing to do with numbers, and certainly not the numbers James cooked up.
   68. Chris Cobb Posted: June 27, 2006 at 02:44 AM (#2077284)
Six straight WS Gold Golve Awards (1963-68) and yet a "B-" rating. Anyone know what is up with that?

Some thoughts:

1) The "WS Gold Glove Award" can be significantly influenced by playing time, since it goes to the player with the most fws at a position in a season, not, say, the player with the highest fielding rate at a position who played a minimum of 900 defensive innings. Santo was a very good defender and exceptionally durable, so his durability may help him to the WSGG as much as his fielding ability.

2) Santo played a lot of games at third base in his career. It's possible that his peak fielding value was excellent, but that early and/or late in his career he was poor defensively. Peak and career rates are not necessarily alike.

3) Win shares could be underrating him defensively. WARP1 sees him as 108 FRAA for his career. Since (as jimd has pointed out), the win shares letter grade system sets the divide between below average and above average defenders at the divide between B- and C+ (B- and up is above average, C+ and down is below average), WARP sees Santo as significantly above average, probably B+ or A-, for his career, whereas WS sees him as only slightly above average for his career.

More detailed study of his fielding record in ws would tell us whether 1 & 2 are true or not.
   69. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:12 AM (#2077328)
Yall who are relying so heavily on OPS+ and the like should check Forman's definition....I have the feeling these park impacts might be included, but I'm not sure.

They are. In their glossary, its step three -- or the Other Parks Correction (OPC). Pretty standard correction which every park factor includes and to my knowledge its the 100% correct thing to do for balanced schedules. (For unbalanced schedules -- which start in 1969, things get much messier.)
   70. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:40 AM (#2077357)
Re. #67:

>Well, the criteria for Gold Gloves have nothing to do with numbers, and certainly not the numbers James cooked up.

My bad. You said WS Gold Gloves.
   71. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 27, 2006 at 07:27 AM (#2077402)
I think that from a 'value' perspective we shouldn't punish a player who was good at taking advantage of his home park. From eyeballing the numbers above, it would seem that Santo played better in Wrigley than one would expect him to based on the park factors.

Also a player in a completely neutral park would have to be expected to hit better at home than on the road. There is somethign ot be said for sleeping in your own bed, practicing at your facilities, s[ending time with family and friends, etc. Then again for some players there may be something to be said for ditching the wife/girlfriend after a long homestand...

Back to Santo, he is clearly teh best 3B on the board and for me is the best IF on the board (and I am a big supporter of Cupid Childs). A pretty comfortable #1 for me.
   72. LSR Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:25 PM (#2077432)
That's nothing. How about a team with 5 HoFers in its everyday lineup in an 8-team league not making the Series? Yea, I know, some of those are real shaky HoFers, but 2 are all time greats, and a third was the best regarded third baseman of his day. And the team had at least 3 HoFers in their starting 8 every year that decade.

Kind of ironic that in a thread about Santo you find a team with two HOFers at 3B (even if one of them didn't really deserve it). Lindstrom had played CF for the Giants the previous season - and that's where the Pirates played him for most of 1933, leaving Traynor at 3rd. I thought on first glance that that may explain part of why the Pirates failed to succeed with 5 HOFers - moving Lloyd Waner out of CF in favor of a thirdbaseman seems like an odd move that should have screwed up the defense quite a bit. But Lindstrom's fielding percentage and range factor were pretty good - I doubt that it affected the team much not have Waner in CF. In any case, in '34 they moved Waner back to CF.
   73. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:03 PM (#2077566)
Like I said, everybody had 4-5 HoMers in those days. Kinda like Lake Woebegone. The can all be above average, I guess, but they can't all win the pennant.
   74. Chris Fluit Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:05 PM (#2077569)
Moving Lindstrom from 3B to CF does seem to show that 3B was considered to be much more of a defensive position in the '30s than it is today.
   75. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:24 PM (#2077586)
The biggest problem with Lindstorm moving to center is that it moved Waner to a corner!
   76. Chris Fluit Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:57 PM (#2077607)
I didn't say that it was a smart move, only that it shows that Lindstrom must have been considered a pretty good fielder and not just "for a third baseman." And that shows that third baseman were probably considered to be defensive players in a way that they aren't today.
   77. Steve Treder Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2077616)
I didn't say that it was a smart move, only that it shows that Lindstrom must have been considered a pretty good fielder and not just "for a third baseman." And that shows that third baseman were probably considered to be defensive players in a way that they aren't today.

That's true, and it's one of the many things that show that third basemen were clearly considered to be defensive players in a way they aren't today. As a vestige from the bunt-heavy deadball days, third base was generally considered a defense-first position throughout the 20s and 30s. The modern mode of stocky, strong-armed guys with limited range, who can hit with at least moderate power, began to broadly phase in during the 40s and 50s, although as late as the 1960s, there were still quite a number of quick-footed, great-glove, light-bat regular third basemen in the majors who would definitely be middle infielders today: Jim Davenport, Clete Boyer, Bob Aspromonte, and Don Wert.
   78. BDC Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:31 PM (#2077643)
quick-footed, great-glove, light-bat regular third basemen

Aurelio Rodriguez was a throwback to that model, one of my favorite players ever. I wonder who was the last such 3B -- maybe Terry Pendleton, though he had some strong years as a hitter.
   79. Steve Treder Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:35 PM (#2077646)
I wonder who was the last such 3B -- maybe Terry Pendleton, though he had some strong years as a hitter.

He did, but he was clearly in the old-fashioned mode. Chone Figgins is that kind of a guy too, but he's obviously more of a supersub than a regular 3B.
   80. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:37 PM (#2077648)
I think Ron would get a kick out of this, write up a little repot on what the HoM is and its history and such, send it along with like a certificate or plaque for his induction and i think he would mention it and might write back
   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:14 PM (#2077693)
Moving Lindstrom from 3B to CF does seem to show that 3B was considered to be much more of a defensive position in the '30s than it is today.

At his peak, Lindstrom was a great player. But durability problems and not enough games at third totally derailed any chance for him to be a creditable HoM candidate. Still, he isn't Kelly or Marquard in my mind.
   82. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2077716)
quick-footed, great-glove, light-bat regular third basemen

This is one of the most interesting (to me) questions in baseball. What "schools" of third basemen are there, post-1930?

1) The George Kell School of Line Drives: High-average, line-drive hitters with OK or better gloves. Students include Kell, Madlock, Buddy Bell (I think), Lansford, Seitzer, Magadan could fit here or in number three, Cirillo.

2) The Al Rosen School of All-Around Greatness: Good to great athletes who could do it all at the plate, OK or better glove. Students include Rosen, Mathews, K Boyer, Santo, Brett, Schmidt, maybe Kelly Gruber, HoJo, Caminiti, Chipper, now A-Rod, Wright, and Rolen. Maybe Bob Elliot. I think Chavez fits into this group, though I'm not certain he does. Ray Boone is somewere between here and #4.

3) The Eddie Yost School of Walkin': 3Bs who took walks, had OK to good power and pretty good gloves. Students include Yost, Bando (or maybe he goes above?), Cey, Harrah, Boggs, Ventura, Darell Evans.

4) The Ken Keltner school of Athletic Guys Who Didn't Walk: These fellows didn't walk much, but they tended to hit for power and were mostly very good fielders. Students include Puddin' Head Jones, Brooks Robinson, Hebner, DeCinces, Wallach, Gaetti, Matt Williams, Fryman, Aaron Boone, Sprague, Sabo, Zeile, Castilla, Beltre. I think Nettles straddles these last two, though I'm not certain.

5) The Bob Horner Big Bomber School: Guys with big bodies, whose defense wasn't much but who hit a lot of homers---Horner, Presley, Bonilla, Glaus. There's probably lots of others. Killebrew might have been one of these guys.

6) The Billy Cox School of Gold Glovers Who Couldn't Hit Around Average...At Best: Cox, Andy Carey, C Boyer, Aurelio Rodriguez, Pendleton, Brosius, Dv Bell. Maybe Charlie Hayes. Don Money??? Randy Jackson??? If Oberkfell could field, then he should be here.

Interestingly, one school of 3Bs that's hard to see evidence of after WW2 is the Pie Traynor School. This group is known for being athletic, having great gloves, and for concentrating their offensive value within their batting average. Traynor, Judy Johnson, and Ray Dandridge are this type of player, and probably a few others before them. I think this kind of 3B may have split into the Kell and Cox schools once power became part of the 3B equation after the war.

Some guys I couldn't quite place include Majeski, Kurowski, Koskie, Hobson, Melton, Dillinger, Hank Thompson.
   83. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:35 PM (#2077730)
Just because a guy is a slap hitter doesn't mean he was a defensive whiz at 3B. I refer to Chone Figgins.
   84. Steve Treder Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:37 PM (#2077731)
This is one of the most interesting (to me) questions in baseball. What "schools" of third basemen are there, post-1930?

I wholeheartedly agree. This series of five articles explores that territory in some depth. I categorize many of the same guys you do in the Keltner Line, of which obviously Keltner was the first, and which has come to be the most prominent modern model.
   85. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2077746)
Of course more kids can grow up to be Ken Keltner than can grow up to be Al Rosen.

I would say that Doc's lists are pretty indiscriminate when it comes to applying the standard, "OK" or "pretty good glove." Some of those mentioned were not OK.
   86. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 27, 2006 at 06:12 PM (#2077782)
True, Mike Schmidt was great not just pretty good. But as with all things, when you start trying to generalize over groups of like three or more, you're bending the rules for virtually everyone.
   87. Sean Gilman Posted: June 27, 2006 at 08:20 PM (#2077896)
quick-footed, great-glove, light-bat regular third basemen

Aurelio Rodriguez was a throwback to that model, one of my favorite players ever. I wonder who was the last such 3B -- maybe Terry Pendleton, though he had some strong years as a hitter.


As a Mariner fan I am obliged to complain that Adrian Beltre has been this type of player for the last year and a half.
   88. JPWF13 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2077900)
As a Mariner fan I am obliged to complain that Adrian Beltre has been this type of player for the last year and a half.


really his Dee's been good? Haven't seen him play in a Mariner's uniform...
   89. Sean Gilman Posted: June 27, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#2077911)
His defense is outstanding. His bat. . . not so much.
   90. DL from MN Posted: June 27, 2006 at 10:15 PM (#2077993)
The Twins went from Batista who is clearly in #5 to Nick Punto who is in group #6
   91. JPWF13 Posted: June 28, 2006 at 02:16 PM (#2079225)
The Twins went from Batista who is clearly in #5 to Nick Punto who is in group #6

I've never understood Batista's defensive rep, the times I've seen him he;'s looked fine, and his stats have been good- from team after team after team
   92. sunnyday2 Posted: June 28, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#2079505)
The guys who hired Batista this year, and had reason to defend him (and themselves), did not try to. They just cut his ass.

I think he was genuinely atrocius, specifically "going" toward the hole. (I say "going" in quotes because the only thing that ever went toward the hole was his arm. That is to say, not much range.)
   93. Howie Menckel Posted: July 02, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2084681)
3Bs, 100 or better adj OPS+
FrBaker 174 67 51 49 47 29 26 16 13 05
RoSanto 164 53 51 46 38 31 29 26 21 15 12 07
HeiGroh 150 48 43 31 23 22 20 07 03
Elliott 147 45 40 35 34 34 26 23 12 05 (best 7 were as a 3B)
StaHack 142 42 32 32 29 25 18 15 11 05 03
KeBoyer 143 35 30 30 24 23 21 15 00
Collins 142 40 26 26 23 21 21 11 10
Traynor 125 24 18 14 13 11 09 08 07 04 00

The back end of Santo's career even gives him an argument vs. the great Baker offensively. Santo spanks the entire rest of the field ever year except Elliott beating him in Year 6. And he's the only one with 12 of these seasons. Oh, and he could field, too! I see only Collins as besting him on that front.
This is indeed remarkable for a 3B. I suspect he'll go 2nd on my ballot to Kaline, but I won't rule out making Santo No. 1 as I've yet to plow thru the Kaline career.

(I gave Hack a 115 as compromise for two 400+ PA seasons of 125 and 105, Baker missed with a 130 in a 402 PA season. Groh missed with a 121 in 416 PA.)
   94. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 02, 2006 at 09:56 PM (#2084750)
As someone who saw Santo's entire career (by the way, I know I write that phrase a lot but I figure it counts with any new readers, so for those who have wearied of I apologize) I believe Ron's reputation is hurt by the following obvious and not so obvious:

Obvious:

Cubs didn't win
Cubs are perceived as having blown a big lead in their one chance TO win

Not so obvious:

Ron wasn't particularly well liked, he was somewhat annoying
Durocher criticized him constantly in the press
His time in the radio booth has caused him to become something of a caricature of the hometown broadcaster. And it isn't flattering. At all.

I will elaborate on the "not so obvious" points.

Ron was a guy who liked to celebrate successes. The most famous being during the 1969 season with the heel click. But it began long before that as Santo did a number of little things to say "hooray for the Cubs" or more often "hooray for Ron" that just rubbed players the wrong way. Later on he fancied himself a leader of men which also didn't go particularly well as the minor revolt against Durocher was stamped out by owner Phil Wrigley and later on with the White Sox Santo lost a show down with Dick Allen. That's an oversimplification but Santo simply didn't inspire fellow players like he thought.

Leo's sniping did a LOT more harm. Leo couldn't stand Banks who he thought was overrated. But as a local icon Leo understand that going there was pretty futile. But Santo didn't present a similar challenge, Leo understood that Santo really didn't like him, and Durocher's approach was to antagonize. Note that after a series of fine seasons Santo had a really good year in Leo's first season at the helm. But after that Ron's production began to slip after 1966. Sure some of that was the pitching but come 1969 that issue was gone. And while his counting stats are solid the rest are just ok. Could have been just a case of peaking early. Could have been the diabetes. But part of me suspects that Durocher just pecking, pecking, pecking each and every day had to have an impact.

The last one I understand will read as harsh. But having spoken to a lot of folks within the game Ron's time in the booth just makes him sound silly. And not in a good way. Folks want to celebrate this guy who continues to battle diabetes who by appearance remains so positive and upbeat. But gosh, he sounds ridiculous up there. There's homers and then there are HOMERS. How can people remember him as a great player when he projects such an absurd image? You don't have to be Caesar like Dimaggio but a little dignity wouldn't be a bad thing.

I enjoyed watching Ron play. He was a good third baseman and merits a spot in the Hall of Fame. But one can understand why when his name comes up his contemporaries shrug and younger folks comment, "You mean the guy who cries on the radio"?
   95. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: July 02, 2006 at 10:13 PM (#2084760)
quick-footed, great-glove, light-bat regular third basemen

Aurelio Rodriguez was a throwback to that model, one of my favorite players ever. I wonder who was the last such 3B -- maybe Terry Pendleton, though he had some strong years as a hitter.

When he first broke into the majors, Bill Mueller was that type of player: above-average defense, .290ish BA without a lot of power. After he turned 30, his defense quickly diminished and he had a big power spike in 2003 at the age of 32. But I think he sorta fit's the profile, at least when he was first with the Giants.
   96. rico vanian Posted: July 02, 2006 at 10:27 PM (#2084764)
I think Santo's broadcasting "homerism" works against him in the same way that it worked against Phil Rizzuto for a long time.

FWIW- As someone who has listened to both Mets and Yankees broadcasts since the early 70's, it is absolutely painful to listen to Ralph Kiner for the past few years. His "Kinerisms" in the 80's and early 90's were cute, but it has gotten to the point ( I think he's had a couple of strokes and he has Bells Palsey) that he is unlistenable.
   97. Howie Menckel Posted: July 03, 2006 at 12:28 AM (#2084910)
I think Kiner's comments remain quite cogent, but the Bell's Palsy indeed is unfortunate..
   98. jingoist Posted: July 03, 2006 at 03:09 PM (#2085859)
Good sideline info Harvey's but I doubt that type of info does, or should, influence voters.
Pete Rose is a complete egotistical moron when he opens his mouth but he was one hell of a ballplayer. I doubt Ty Cobb would win many popularity contests.
So Ron Santo gets sappy on the air....the man doesn't have much else except the cubbies and his memories from those days when he played.
Sorry to hear he's so painful to listen to on a regular basis...then again the Cubs are so very painful to watch on a regular basis.
No team has spent so much money on so much talent and received so little return for their investment than the Cubs.
Truly pathetic.
But Ron Santo deserves careful consideration for the HoM and HoF and, I believe, will eventually be elected to both.
   99. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2006 at 03:32 PM (#2085883)
When he first broke into the majors, Bill Mueller was that type of player: above-average defense, .290ish BA without a lot of power. After he turned 30, his defense quickly diminished and he had a big power spike in 2003 at the age of 32. But I think he sorta fit's the profile, at least when he was first with the Giants.

Good call.
   100. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 03, 2006 at 06:47 PM (#2086129)
In the ballot thread, yest wrote about Santo:

led in putouts 7 times 6 in a row I guess 3rd base putouts have nothing to with great fielding


I replied there with this:

If you believe Bill James, they don't. I don't go quite *that* far, but I think they don't mean much except in the odd case; they're largely a function of foul territory in the home ballpark. Santo might be one of the odd cases, in that Wrigley doesn't have that much foul territory.


Expanding on that comment a bit:

James, in his fielding Win Shares analysis, found that when he looking at 3Bs with good fielding reputations, compared to those with poor fielding reputations, there was virtually no difference in their putout totals. There were notable differences in their assist totals and DP totals (even after accounting for pitching staff effects) but not in their putouts. James looked at 3Bs in a number of different ways, trying to find "some" way to justify using 3B putouts in the fielding component of Win Shares, and ultimately concluded that he could not.

3B putouts tend to divide neatly into three categories (these three account for something like 85-90% of 3B putouts):

1. Popups
2. Line drives
3. Runners trying to go first-to-third on singles

I think we can safely argue that #3 isn't exactly a function of the quality of the glove at 3B. #1, to some extent, is (a) discretionary and (b) impacted by the amount of foul territory, and #2 is to a large extent a matter of good fortune and (to a lesser extent) positioning. I'm willing to agree that there is some skill in #2, because positioning is an important aspect of fielding skill, but it's very likely a lesser component on line drives than just being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, as far as I can tell.

Foul territory doesn't explain much here; Wrigley Field has a fairly small amount of foul territory. Playing time certainly accounts for some of Santo's advantage; he was routinely playing the vast majority of the innings at 3B for the Cubs, generally far more than anyone else in the league, and would normally be expected to get more putouts than anyone else. But I don't think that's the whole story. In 1967, for example, Santo had 187 putouts in 161 games. Clete Boyer, playing in Atlanta (a bigger park with a normal amount of foul territory) had 166 in 150 games; he'd still be about 10 behind Santo over 161 games. No one else with a significant amount of PT was over 1.

My thought is that Santo probably deserves *some* credit for his extra putouts, but probably not a lot. His assist totals (especially given that the Cubs also tended to have a relatively normal FB/GB ratio during the Santo years) are a bigger testament to his fielding skills, IMO.

-- MWE
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