Ron Santo is now a Hall of Fame player. I've never seen him play but I always knew the name. In that regard he is famous but just looking at the stats this is a dubious distinction bestowed upon a very solid ball player. What's wrong with being just a solid ball player? Perennial All-Star? Perennial MVP Candidate? Wasn't that part of his job - to produce? Why couldn't people be content with Ron having his uniform number retired?
Well, the Hall of Fame is a business and they constantly need two things to happen. They need players and they need controversial issues. Otherwise, why would you be discussing one person's merits over another. However, the Ron Santo enshrinement is bad timing. First of all, during his entire life he was denied induction, rightfully so, by the writer's AND the veterans committee! Now, in comes a third vote process the Golden Era Committee and kaboom - instant Hall of Famer.
How horrible to think that Ron Santo's best career move was to die? How misguided that this group of 16 voters think that somehow Ron will get wind of this information? It's more insulting than honoring.
But the greater problem it develops, is that it gives hope to players, that they too, may get a key to the kingdom from the Golden Era Committee somewhere down the line.
According to Bill James' HOF test where a likely HOF scores 100/50. Ron Santo waltzes in with 88/41. Is that the worse election ever? No, it's not, but it's without a doubt lowering the bar....again.
Let me put this another way. If you added the 15 votes he got from the Golden Era Committee members to the 1998 Ballot the year Ron got his most votes he still would have fell 136 votes short of election.
Here at First Ballot we accept the reality that he is in and we will now rectify the "HOF Class of 1980" to reflect that's when Ron Santo got in along side Al Kaline & Orlando Cepeda.
About the Card
I'm not a fan of this design. Never have been. It hasn't held up over time.