Tagged: Hall of Fame

Why Ron Santo Deserves To Be In The Hall Of Fame

The best baseball player to never get inducted in the Hall of Fame, Chicago Cubs’ third baseman, Ron Santo has died.  It’s a sad day at Wrigley.  Before he died, Santo only wanted two things.  One, to gain the respect of the Hall of Fame voters.
santo.jpg  The other, to see the Cubs win a World Series.  The poor man was denied on both counts.  Time after time, Ron Santo suffered the pain and heartbreak of rejection and failed to garner enough votes to punch his ticket to Cooperstown.  The rejection hurt, but it wasn’t as painful as watching the Cubs choke time and time again.  All he really wanted was to see the Cubs win it all.  Unfortunately, that never happened either.  Ron Santo was an icon.  He was, without question, the #1 diehard Cubs’ fan.  His love of the Cubs was unsurpassed.  As a player, he was a leader.  Billy Williams and Ernie Banks fed off of him.  They had a team that seemed destined to go all the way, but as luck would have it, the Cubs would fall short of their goal.   That seemed to be a recurring theme for Cubs’ teams over the years.  As a broadcaster, Santo wore his heart on his sleeve.  When the Cubs performed well, he would get excited.  When the Cubs’ fell apart, Santo’s heart would bleed.  Listening to him on WGN Radio, he made it sound like the end of the world.  As a diehard Cubs’ fan, I felt his pain.  It is very frustrating to be a Cubs’ fan.  We have so much hope going in to Spring Training, but the ending is always the same.  We cry, “Wait till next year!”, but the promise of a new season always ends in frustration.  “Just once”, Ron Santo cried, “Just once, I want to see the Cubs win it all”.  He never did. 

santobbcard.jpgRon Santo seemed to be just as cursed as the Cubs’ have been.  He should be in the Hall of Fame, but for some reason, he has been overlooked.  Why?  Any Hall of Fame voter who has not voted for Santo obviously did not do their homework.  A closer look will reveal that Ron Santo’s numbers are just as good as anyone’s.  He is arguably the greatest all-around third baseman of his time, rivaled only by Brooks Robinson.  ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote a book called ‘The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History.  You can read an excerpt at http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=5879992.  Jayson Stark reveals why Ron Santo deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  It is very cool.  It really makes you wonder how Santo was never enshrined into Cooperstown. 

Santo played 15 seasons in his career. 
santosi.jpg He was a 9-time All-Star and won 5 Gold Gloves.  He was a leader.  He was a loyal Cubs’ fan.  He was not only the voice of the Chicago Cubs, but the voice of diehard Cubs’ fans.  The man batted between Ernie Banks and Billy Williams.  He was at the heart of the batting order.  He was the heart and soul of the Cubs.  Ron Santo was a special player, but more importantly, he was a special person.  He will be missed.  The Cubs have countless diehard fans, but Ron Santo was the most loyal and passionate diehard Cubs’ fan of all.  When the Cubs finally win a World Series, the Heavens will open and tears of joy shall fall down upon Chicago, because Ron Santo will finally find fulfillment and peace.  If the Hall of Fame never opens its door to Santo, it will be a shame.  I hope that some day both of his wishes come true.  He deserves it!

An Open Letter To Bud Selig Re: Reinstatement of Pete Rose

The BBWAA Hall of Fame ballots have officially been released.  One name that is not among the candidates to be enshrined is Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader. 
thumbnailCAAMARXE.jpg Some names that will appear on the ballots are names connected with steroid use.  There is no forgiveness in baseball, unless your method of cheating was by steroid use.  Why?  Why is betting on baseball a worse crime?  Pete Rose never bet against the Reds so it wasn’t like he “fixed” the games to ensure he would win a bet.  He lied about his gambling at first, but finally broke down and admitted his wrong-doing.  He regrets his mistake.  Players like Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro denied any wrong doing despite the evidence that proves otherwise.  Roger Clemens will deny his actions till the day he dies and even then, will never admit it.  Alex Rodriguez denied reports of his usage, but finally revealed the truth after the evidence was leaked to the press.  His reward?  He gets to keep playing as if he did nothing wrong.  Why?  Why does a player that tests positive for steroid use gets to get caught 3 times before he faces a lifetime ban?  Why are steroid users allowed to be on the Hall of Fame ballot?  Are they not cheaters?

thumbnailCAF2K6Q0.jpg          Dear Mr. Selig, I don’t understand why Major League baseball has crucified Pete Rose.  Sure, he made a mistake.  He bet on baseball and that is strictly against the rules.  He made a mistake and is truly remorseful.  As the Commissioner of MLB, are you afraid to overturn a previous Commissioner’s ruling?  Why?  Is there no forgiveness in baseball?

In light of the steroid era, haven’t we learned anything?  The steroid users have been glorified.  In 1998, fans of MLB enjoyed the greatest homerun race ever.  Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire slugged it out and the fans went wild.  At the time, we thought we were witnessing history, only to discover that it was all smoke and mirors.  In hindsight, it was a major disappointment.  Then there’s Barry Bonds, who belted 70 homeruns to become the homerun king.  Again, it was all an illusion, wasn’t it?

Considering the fact that steroids not only tarnished the game, it destroyed the integrity of America’s past time.  So why do players like Palmeiro get rewarded by appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot?  I don’t get it.  MLB has always taken the stance that baseball is a pure sport, a sport with integrity.  Let’s face it, baseball has been stained by steroids.  Players looked for an extra edge and found it.  They cheated, pure and simple.  The problem that I have is that if a player fails a drug test, he gets suspended for 90 days or whatever it is.  then, if he tests positive again, it’s a 180 game suspension.  The third offense results in a lifetime ban.  So why is it, that Pete Rose received baseball’s death penalty for one mistake made after his playing days were over?  Pete Rose played the game the way it should be played.  He set the example for everyone.  He never used steroids or cheated in any way, shape, or form as a player.  As a manager, he bet on his team to win.  Big deal.  Why is his case a greater crime than steroid use?  I think there is something wrong with that picture.

Here is my proposal, Mr. Selig.  I have an idea that might actually prove to be the right thing to do.  I hope that you read this post and seriously consider what I am about to suggest.  Why?  It is the right thing to do and I am confident that you are a man of integrity.  Here’s my idea. 

Since Pete Rose bet on baseball while managing the Reds, then he should be banned as a manager.  However, since Pete has alot to offer, he should be allowed to coach, mentoring young players and teaching them how to play the game the way it was meant to be played and teaching them about the dangers of cheating.  Pete Rose should be allowed to participate in the game of baseball in some capacity.  He was the greatest hitter ever.  Have some respect and give him his due.  Pete Rose has paid the price for his mistake and is sorry.  He should be forgiven.  Perhaps a little forgiveness would bring back some of the integrity that has been lost in Major League baseball.

In addition, Pete Rose deserves to be in the hall of Fame, period!  His numbers speak for themselves.  His success came the old-fashion way, he earned it.  He worked hard to get where he had gotten.  He deserves to be on the ballot to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  It doesn’t mean that the writers will vote him in, although I think he deserves it.  He should at least have the opportunity to be on the ballot.  It’s time to be a leader, Mr. Selig, and give Pete Rose a reprieve.  It has been long enough.  Don’t you believe in giving people second chances?  Steroid users get second and third chances.  Pete Rose needs only one second chance and you are the only one that has the power to forgive.  There is no forgiveness in baseball, but maybe there should be.

thumbnailCARERZJN.jpgPete Rose
was my favorite player when I was a youngster.  He inspired me to play baseball.  He inspired me to hustle.  He inspired me to dive head first into whatever base I was trying to reach.  He inspired me to aspire to becoming a big leaguer some day.  Pete Rose was awesome.  My very first MLB game was at Riverfront Stadium and Pete Rose was playing third base.  He was the reason I wanted to see the Cubs and the Reds play.  Rose captivated my imagination and made me realize that a player had to work hard and give 100% all the time.  He inspired a strong work ethic in me.  Watching Pete Rose chase Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak was unbelievable.  Every game was exciting.  That was what made baseball so great.  He chased the 3,000 hit milestone.  Then, the incredible 4,000 hit milestone.  He finally broke Ty Cobb’s record for most hits all-time.  It was amazing.  Pete Rose kept me interested in baseball, no, more like obsessed.  Pete Rose deserves some credit.  He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  Have a heart and reinstate his eligibility status.  It’s the right thing to do.  If it wasn’t for Pete Rose, I would not be the diehard baseball fan that I am today.   I hope that somehow you read this, Mr. Selig.  I have the utmost respect for you and your integrity and I trust that you will consider doing the right thing.   Thank you,  Scot Blust.

My All-Time Favorite Cubs!

I have been a diehard Cubs’ fan for over 32 years.  Here is a list of my all-time favorite Cubs.

In no particular order, I have broken my favorites down by position.  Former Cub Greats like Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Ron Santo are NOT listed since I never had the opportunity to see them play.  However, obviously, they are the best.

In the OUTFIELD, my favorites include ANDRE DAWSON.  Andre Dawson is a Hall of Famer and his numbers speak for themselves. 
thumbnailCAGSWXSZ.jpgon the other hand, lost favor with me when I, along with the rest of the world, discovered that he used a corked bat while hitting 66 homeruns in 1998.  Sammy was exciting to watch, but with the steroid scandal, he became a major disappointment.  I was at Wrigley all summmer long in 1998 and was a witness to history, unfortunately it was all smoke and mirrors for the fans.   Another favorite has been Gary Matthews.  “Sarge” always took charge in the outfield and played hard-nosed baseball.  He was an all-out effort kind of player. My third favorite outfielder, in my time, is BOB DERNIER.
thumbnailCAYVE10S.jpg  He was a speedster that not only stole bases, but had a gold glove as well.

At THIRD BASE, the Cubs haven’t had anybody that has stood out until Aramis Ramirez came along. 
thumbnailCA6WKXR1.jpgAlthough he struggled with injuries last season, he has been a solid performer over the past few years with the Cubs.  Hopefully next season, he will return to form.

At SHORTSTOP, my favorite was Ivan DeJesus
thumbnailCAU6D3I4.jpgHe was the lead-off hitter back when I began watching the Cubs.  He played solid defense and stole bases.  He always gave 100%.

At SECOND BASE, there is only one RYNE SANDBERG. 
thumbnailCACA1ZSP.jpgA Hall of Famer, Ryno was simply the best.  He was the most clutch hitter that I’ve ever seen.

At FIRST BASE, while most fans would arguably pick Mark Grace and rightfully so, my pick is BILL BUCKNER.  Back in the day, Buckner was a hitting machine.  In my opinion, he was a better hitter than Gracie.  He was a pretty good defensive player as well.  It is unfortunate that fans only remember the ball that went through his legs at Boston.
thumbnailCAK2MV8C.jpg  The same could be said for Leon Durham in 1984.  Derek Lee deserves special recognition.  I almost picked him and probably should have.  He is probably the best first baseman the Cubs have had in my 32 years as a fan, I just was a big fan of Buckner, that’s all. 

At CATCHER, my favorite was JODY DAVIS.
thumbnailCAIL1KLX.jpg  He was awesome.
thumbnail.jpg  Back in 1984, the Cubs had a good team up and down the line-up.  It was probably my favorite team as a whole.

STARTING PITCHER is none other than Greg Maddux
thumbnailCAXBVF46.jpgHe is the king of the hill.

My favorite CLOSER was BRUCE SUTTER.  He had a split-fingered fast ball that was lights out.  Carlos Marmol recently broke his strikeout record for closers.

thumbnailCA01ENS8.jpgSome of my other favorites include, most notably, JOE GIRARDI, LEE SMITH, DENNIS ECKERSLY, Kenny Lofton, FERGUSON JENKINS, MARK GRACE, Sammy Sosa, Kerry Wood, RICK SUTCLIFFE, LEON DURHAM, KEITH MORELAND, Derek Lee, DAVE KINGMAN, SHAWON DUNSTON, Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, and Carlos Marmol.   My FAVORITE CUBS’ TEAM was 1984. 
thumbnailCAFW14WS.jpgIt was a season to remember!


Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame, period!  Major League Baseball, however, disagrees.  In 1989, the Commissioner’s Office handed Pete a lifetime ban from baseball for gambling. 
thumbnailCATZ5A2Q.jpg September 11th marked the anniversary of his record breaking 4,192 career hit.  Last night, Bud Selig allowed Rose to step out onto the field in Cinncinatti for the first time since the ban.  It is about time.

thumbnailCAF2K6Q0.jpgPete Rose made a mistake.  While managing the Reds, Pete bet on his team to win.  He never bet against the Reds.  The games were not fixed.
thumbnailCAJ99TC9.jpg  Rose was just confident in his ballclub and put his money where his mouth was.  Of course, that is against the rules.

Rose admitted his crime but not right away.
thumbnailCA3QXS93.jpg  When Bart Giamatti asked Pete to be honest, Pete repeatedly denied that he bet on baseball.
thumbnailCAA01TSY.jpg  When the evidence surfaced, Giamatti was furious that Rose had lied and brought the hammer down.  Roger Clemens finds himself in a similar predicament.  After all, if the truth be known, the Hall of Fame would be out of reach.

Pete Rose made a terrible mistake and was handed MLB’s death sentence.

Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame Commitee expect baseball players to be perfect role models, untainted and pure.  In recent years, highlighted by the steroid era, baseball fans have begun to realize that baseball players are not perfect, some have broke the rules and cheated.  Steroids have tainted the game.
thumbnailCARERZJN.jpg  Pure and simple.  Learning that the homerun kings of our generation accomplished their feats unfairly, the game has come under a great deal of scrutiny.  The homerun record have fallen into question and the players involved may never make it to the Hall Of Fame.  Why haven’t they been banned like Pete Rose was?

Alex Rodriguez finally admiited his involvement with steroids and yet plays on.  A-Rod gets to stay in the game and chase the homerun milestones.  Why?  Is he special?  MLB has proven that it has double standards in these matters.  Let’s face it, there is favortism, grudges, and stubborn pride in the Commissioner’s Office.  Bud Selig did the right thing by letting Pete Rose celebrate his accomplishment but should also lift the ban.  Pete Rose has paid the price and deserves a second chance.  He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  Look at his numbers, which speak for themselves.  The only thing that matters is what Pete Rose meant to the game of baseball.  He has Hall of Fame written all over him.

thumbnailCAAMARXE.jpgPete Rose exemplified what the game of baseball is all about.  He inspired everyone with his hard-nosed, hard working, work ethic.  His head and his heart were always in the game.  His nickname was “Charlie Hustle” because he gave 100 per cent every moment of the game.  If he grounded the ball back to the pitcher, normally an easy out where most batters would immediately give up and stop running, Pete would sprint down to first and try to beat it out.  Pete Rose gave his all, every play, no matter what.  He was a special player.  He was the spark of The Big Red Machine’s offense.  He was the leader that set the example.  He was my boyhood hero. 

thumbnailCAPE830R.jpgIn 1977, I went to my first Major League game.  The Cubs played the Reds at Riverfront stadium and I was in awe.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of Pete Rose.  Charle Hustle lived up to his name and he made the game exciting.  Even then, I knew I was watching a Hall Of Famer.  Pete Rose is a living legend to me.  Regardless of his lifetime suspension, I will always consider Pete Rose, one of the best to ever play the game of baseball.  It was Pete Rose who inspired me to follow baseball religiously.  As a boy, I dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player.  I wanted to be like Pete Rose.  He was the reason I played baseball.  He was the reason that I lived for baseball.  He was the reason that I became obsessed with baseball. 

Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, period!