Monday, December 5, 2011

Chicago Cubs Great, Ron Santo, Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by Golden Era Committee

Ron Santo is finally getting his due.  Often overlooked and underrated, Ron Santo has been posthumously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the 16- member Golden Era Committee.

The nine-time All-Star and five Gold Glove winner, was the only candidate on the ballot of eight former players and two executives to acquire the 75% of votes needed to make it into the Hall.  Santo’s induction vote fell one shy of a unanimous decision, with 15 of the 16 potential votes.  Others on the ballot included Jim Kaat (10 votes, 62.5%); Gil Hodges (9 votes, 56.25%); Minnie Minoso (9 votes, 56.25%); Tony Oliva (8 votes, 50%); Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Charlie Finley, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant who each received less than three votes.

The Golden Era Committee was created by the Baseball Writers' Association of America to consider additional inductions of players whose contributions to the game were most significant from 1947-1972.  This year’s Golden Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson and Billy Williams; major league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) and Al Rosen (retired); and veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell and Dave Van Dyck.

The Golden Era Committee works on a three-year cycle and will next consider candidates in 2014 for the 2015 Induction year.  Next year the Pre-Integration Era Committee will meet to consider induction of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players whose careers took place prior to 1947. In 2013, the Expansion Era Committee will consider candidates whose career contributions came from 1973 through the present.

Santo, who passed away on Dec. 3, 2010, will be enshrined, along with any other selected members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2012, during Induction Ceremonies slated for Sunday, July 22, 2011 in Cooperstown, NY.

At the time of Ron Santos passing I wrote about his life’s struggles with medical issues, career achievements and how I believed he had earned the right to be in the Hall.  No question, awards and praise should be giving to individuals while they are still with us, to allow them the joy of the moment. While it would have been nice if the Baseball Writers had done this a while back, when you consider that Santo was selected not by writers, bur by former greats of the game like Aaron, Kaline, Kiner, Robinson and Rosen, this is an extra special honor. It comes a little late, but the Golden Era Committee has done the right thing here.

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