Monday, December 5, 2011

Ron Santo Elected To Hall Of Fame, One Year Late

Today, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that former Chicago Cubs third baseman and radio commentator Ron Santo is a Hall of Famer. Santo died December 3, 2010 — a year and two days ago — from complication of the diabetes that made him play beneath his talents for 15 years, made him keep candy bars in his locker, made him end his career at the age of 34 (while most other Hall of Fame third baseman played into their 40s), and eventually made him begin life anew in a wheel chair.

I'm sick. Sick. That Santo could not have been elected during his life.

I don't care about the Hall of Fame. It's a stupid little club created by writers. It's full of cheaters and racists and New York Yankees who had whatever careers but just happened to be on the right team. Half it's members stood out only because segregation artificially kept the talent pool at a minimum; the other half benefited from cocaine, greenies, the clear, and HGH.

The only reason the Hall means anything to me is because it meant something to Ronnie. Santo spent his summers at my house, bumbling his way through a Cubs game, collapsing and moaning with each error and caught stealing, rising and flying with each Cubs homer and run.

Santo was part of Chicago; he was part of the family; he was what made the game good. A solid, hard-working man. A man who daily overcame unfair physical obstacles to play at an elite level. A company man who never gave up on his team.

Shame on the Hall of Fame voters. Shame on the Veteran's Committee. He's in there now. It was an inevitability; he was going to make it someday. Once the BBWAA is run by sabermetricians (a matter of time), Santo was going to be a stand-up triple, an easy run. He was in.

Shame on them for not giving Santo the pleasure of his one last hope.

Congratulations to Ronnie. Congrats to his family, who today probably feel somewhat stung like me. And congrats to the Golden Era Committee, who finally redressed the Hall's great error.

This heel-click goes out to you, Ronnie.

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