Monday, December 8, 2008

Veterans Committee Elects Gordon to Hall of Fame; Snubs Santo Again

The Veterans Committee has elected the late Joe Gordon to the Baseball Hall of Fame and will be posthumously inducted in 2009.

Gordon played in the major leagues from 1938-1943 and from 1946-1950. He missed the 1944 and 1945 seasons due to his service with the U.S. Army during WWII.

Gordon spent most of his playing career with the New York Yankees as a second baseman. He would win four World Series rings with the Yankees (1938, 1939, 1941 & 1943) and also earn the American League MVP in 1942.

The Yankees traded Gordon to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Allie Reynolds following the 1946 season. Gordon would earn his fifth World Series ring with the Indians in 1948.

In all, Gordon was selected to 9 All-Star teams in his 11-year career and drove in more than 110 runs in a season four times.

After his major league career, Gordon returned to the Indians as their manager in 1958. However, in the middle of the 1960 season he would be traded to the Detroit Tigers for their manager Jimmy Dykes. It was the only trade in major league history that involved only managers. Dykes left the Tigers after the 1960 season to manage the Kansas City Athletics in 1961 but lasted only one season. He would manage the Kansas City Royals in their inaugural season in 1969. One of his players would win AL Rookie of the Year and become a successful major league manager in his own right - Lou Piniella. Gordon died of a heart attack in 1978 at the age of 63.

While the Veterans Committee gave long overdue recognition to Gordon they once again snubbed Chicago Cubs third base legend Ron Santo, who has been trying to get inducted since 1980. It boggles the mind why Santo isn't in Cooperstown. It's not like they have a glut of third basemen. Of the 230 players inducted in Cooperstown only 13 are third baseman (three of whom played in the Negro Leagues). Santo's numbers are better than most of the third basemen who are already in there.

Santo was the best third baseman in the NL in the 1960s. The only third baseman who was better was Brooks Robinson. Santo hit nearly 75 more homeruns than Robinson (342 to 268) and nearly drove in as many runs (1357 - Robinson, 1331 - Santo). Santo's lifetime batting average is ten points higher than Robinson (.277 to .267). While Robinson is far ahead in base hits (2848 to 2254) the Orioles legend played for 23 seasons while Santo played only 15.

Santo's five Gold Gloves don't match Robinson's 15. But neither do Mike Schmidt's ten.

Sure Santo never got to play in the postseason but neither did Ernie Banks, Billy Williams nor for that matter Ferguson Jenkins - all Cubs teammates who made it to Cooperstown.

Like Gordon, Santo was a 9-time All Star.

Santo is currently beloved announcer with the Cubs. He is eligible for consideration by the Veterans Committee in 2011. However, Santo has had a long struggle with diabetes so G-d only knows if he'll be around.

My question to the Veterans Committee is why do they think Santo is unworthy of enshrinement in Cooperstown? I would like to hear one good reason.

At this point, it is appearing more likely the Cubs will win a World Series than Santo being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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