Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Santo Cause

Ron Santo, who just passed away, surely had a career deserving of the Hall of Fame. Wins Above Replacement suggests he was the most valuable everyday player in the majors in the last half of the 1960s, and was one of the greatest third basemen of all-time.

But 1969 he probably preferred to forget. After the games of August 6 that season, the Cubs had a superb 71-41 record, and led the NL East by nine full games over the second place Mets. Santo was playing like an MVP, with a BA of .314, OBP of .409, SLG of .543 and OPS of .952. But from then on, through September 24, the day the Mets clinched the NL East, Santo managed only a BA of .231, OBP of .315, SLG of .333 and OPS of .648. The Cubs over that stretch went 19-26 and went from 9 games ahead ahead of the Mets on August 6 to six games behind the Mets with five to play. Over the five games remaining after the Cubs were out of it, Santo's OPS was .900.

Ron had health problems most of his life, and he could not have enjoyed repeatedly being denied a deserved induction into the Hall of Fame. But the final seven weeks of the 1969 season could not have been one of his better memories either. Cruel game, baseball, as recent Mets fans know. Perhaps the last few seasons for the Mets could be thought of as Santo's Revenge.

1 comment:

frank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.