Legendary Cubs third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo will finally join teammates Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Santo was elected by the Veteran’s Committee in Golden Era balloting, the results of which were announced Monday morning at the baseball winter meetings in Dallas.
Santo, who died from complications of diabetes and cancer a little more than one year ago, was a nine-time National League All-Star and had 342 home runs, 1,331 RBI, a .277 lifetime batting average and five Gold Gloves during his 15-year playing career.
According to baseball analyst Bill James, Santo is ranked as the sixth best third baseman of all time. Read the full press release below:
CHICAGO – Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo today was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame after being named on 93.8 percent (15 of 16) of the Veteran’s Committee ballots.
Santo, who passed away December 3, 2010, will become the 10th player in franchise history to be elected to the Hall of Fame wearing a Cubs hat, the first third baseman in the 135-year history of the club. Santo joins Ernie Banks (1977), Frank Chance (1946), Kiki Cuyler (1968), Gabby Hartnett (1955), Billy Herman (1975), Fergie Jenkins (1991), Ryne Sandberg (2005), Billy Williams (1987) and Hack Wilson (1979) as players wearing Cubs hats in the Hall of Fame.
Overall, Santo becomes the 46th person with a Cubs association to earn enshrinement to Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
“All who knew Ron or welcomed him into their homes on the radio recognize he was so much more than a Hall of Fame baseball player. He was the beating heart of Cubs fans,” said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. “As an athlete, he was our All-Star. As a radio analyst, he carried our passion. For those battling illness or disease, he remains an inspiration. And for all of us who had the honor of calling him our friend, he is forever beloved.
“Though it is bittersweet that Ron is not here to enjoy this day, we are comforted by the pride members of the Santo family have for their husband, father and grandfather. On behalf of the Chicago Cubs organization and all of our fans, we congratulate Ron Santo’s family on this historic day and look forward to his induction next summer.”
A nine-time National League All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner, Santo hit .277 with 365 doubles, 67 triples, 342 home runs, 1,331 RBIs and 1,138 runs in 2,243 games covering 15 major league seasons with the Cubs (1960-73) and White Sox (1974). He is one of only two third basemen in big league history with at least 300 home runs and five Gold Gloves, joining Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
Santo ranked among the elite during his 15-season big league career. Between 1960-74, only four players had 2,000 hits, 300 home runs and 1,300 RBI: Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Billy Williams and Ron Santo. Additionally, only four players had 2,000 hits and 1,000 walks in that span: Hank Aaron, Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson and Ron Santo. Santo’s 342 home runs were the most by any third baseman in his 15-season career, easily outpacing his next closest competitor in Brooks Robinson (248 home runs in that span).
In his 15-year career, Santo finished in the league top 10 in batting average three times, slugging percentage five times, on-base percentage seven times, base on balls nine times, games played eight times, home runs seven times, RBI eight times, runs scored three times and total bases five times.
Overall, Santo had 11 seasons of 20 or more home runs, including four in a row of 30 or more. He had eight 90-plus RBI campaigns, four seasons with at least 100 RBI and ranked in the top 10 in RBI eight years in a row. Santo was top 10 in RBIs for eight straight seasons.
Santo holds or shares many defensive records for third baseman, including most consecutive National League games at third base (364) and most years leading either league in total chances (nine).
Santo stayed involved in baseball since retiring after the 1974 campaign. He was an empathetic voice of the fans on WGN Radio for 21 seasons through the final year of his life from 1990-2010. Santo also helped raise more than $60 million for juvenile diabetes research, through which his legacy lives on.
Don’t miss your chance to hear from the new Cubs baseball leadership yourself: Cubs Convention individual passes go on sale this morning at 10 a.m. Central.
New President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein will communicate his vision directly to fans and take questions. Current and former Cubs players and coaches also will be on hand for a variety of panels on the past, present and future of the organization. And the same great autograph and photo opportunities make for baseball’s ultimate offseason celebration.
The 2012 Convention will feature enhanced layouts and new family-friendly exhibits, including an interactive baseball area hosted by the Illinois Baseball Academy, a gaming zone and the LEGOLAND Discovery Zone.
More info: The 27th annual Cubs Convention will take place on Friday, Jan. 13, through Sunday, Jan. 15, at the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave.).
Below are a few innings from the full nine with former left-handed reliever Randy Myers (a Cub from 1993-95), featured in the upcoming issue of Vine Line. Every month, Vine Line catches up with alumni and remembers old moments in Glory Days, an exclusive section covering the history of the Cubs. Subscribe today for more great content to take you through the offseason. (Interview by Jim McArdle; Photo by Stephen Green)
When his playing days were over, Randy Myers returned to his native Northwest. The former “Nasty Boy” of the 1990 world-champion Reds now volunteers his time to protect wildlife and the environment. As a Cub, Myers is best known for his record-setting 53-save season in 1993 and for fighting off a mound-charging fan in 1995.
HOME SWEET HOME I live near Vancouver, Wash. I was born and raised here. People don’t realize you give up 20 years of your life to travel around when you play. When I was done I moved back.
’93 SUPER SAVER I believe it’s still the major league record for a left-hander. We had a good bullpen. We had Bob Scanlan and Dan Plesac as the setup guys. Basically, we were playing six-inning games with our starters.
TODDLIN’ TOWN I used to ride my bike around Chicago and stop by Murphy’s Bleachers after games now and then to have a burger. Whether they would go to Bernie’s or Slugger’s or Murphy’s, guys used to go out with their families and have a bite to eat, and no one bothered them. Basically, you just worked in the area.
Get the full interview in Vine Line.
From the October 2011 issue of Vine Line, longtime beat writer Joe Goddard shares a story from the middle of the 20th century. Read Goddard’s stories in Glory Days every month by subscribing to Vine Line today.
Myron “Moe” Drabowsky was an accomplished prankster when he finished his 1957 rookie season with a 2.47 ERA—but not before fleeing Poland with his family in the ’39 Nazi invasion. “I remember catching fish bare-handed in Poland and seeing Nazis doing the goose step,” Drabowsky said.
Giving hot feet to unsuspecting victims was Drabowsky’s specialty, including one to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. He made news in 1958 when he gave up Stan Musial’s 3,000th hit. “At least I’ll be remembered for something,” said Drabowsky, who later struck out 11 Dodgers as an Oriole in the 1966 World Series.