This past week, the National Baseball Hall of Fame mailed out the ballots for their 2012 class to approximately 600 voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The results of that process will be announced on January 9.
Tomorrow, the Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee will announce its selections from among eight former players and two former executives on the Golden Era Ballot, covering individuals whose contributions were realized primarily during the period from 1947-72.
On Thursday night, I submitted my votes for the second year in a row as part of Graham Womack of Baseball Past and Present's project to identify the 50 best players not in the Hall of Fame. Results will hopefully be announced on Monday as well.
There's also the upcoming vote of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, from which our 300+ member blogs will give our opinions as to who the BBWAA should elect in January.
Thus begins what I like to call Hall of Fame Season. For the next month, there will be much debating surrounding who, among this year's nominees, is worthy of baseball's highest honor. Comparisons will be made to current Hall of Famers deemed among the weaker current inductees, and names who have been previously shunned will be thrown into the discussion as well.
I may have said this before, but for me, this and the counting down of my favorite albums—among other factors—make this the most wonderful time of the year.
Since the BBWAA announcement is still a month away, and the Golden Era ballot results will be revealed within the next 24 hours, I'll focus on the latter for now.
All I really care about, with regard to tomorrow's announcement, is that Ron Santo finally gets his due. Don't get me wrong. I also think there's a pretty good case to be made for Minnie Minoso and Luis Tiant, and I wouldn't have a problem with Ken Boyer getting the Hall of Fame nod, but it's a real travesty that Santo has yet to be elected.
I can say, without reservation, that there are only five third basemen—Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Brooks Robinson—who were clearly better than Santo. There are a few others who are in the argument for who comes next, but I'd probably rank him seventh all-time, with Frank "Home Run" Baker being #6. Actually, if we consider Paul Molitor as a third baseman, then Santo drops to 8th, but Molitor is generally considered to be the Hall's first designated hitter.
How is the 7th or 8th best third baseman of all-time not in the Hall of Fame? I really can't tell you, other than to say, obviously, the BBWAA does not agree with me. But, I know I'm far from alone in the Ron Santo camp.
It will, however, be a bit of a shame if Santo is elected this year. The reason, of course, is he passed away a year ago yesterday. Still, I look forward to celebrating his career, even if it is a couple years too late to allow him to bask in the honor.
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