Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Zen Dayley: Split over the Santo clause

While you wondering if the Jays had even had 21 hits all month, before tonight's shellacktacular vs. Cincy. Thank god Bronson Arroyo isn't as revenge-minded as Charles Bronson ...

The Baseball Hall of Fame will always believe greatness and those gifted by circumstances are one and the same.

The Veterans' Committee's new two-pronged voting system should help Ron Santo, the slugging Cubs third baseman of the 1960s and early '70s, finally get into Cooperstown.

The blind spot on this end comes from having never seen Santo play. A good decision is based on knowledge and not numbers (that's from either Plato, or Richard Griffin). Long story short, under the new voting procedures, the Veterans' Committee will whittle a list of candidates down to a 10-player shortlist next month, then vote in the fall with 75% support required for induction.

Santo would probably be a shoo-in, especially since Joe Morgan, who's got a lot of sway with the VC, has pushed hard for him. That's great for Santo, but perhaps the baseball writers were right the first 15 times -- when they didn't vote him into Cooperstown.

There's a real sticking point with Santo's case. A commenter at ShysterBall, the source of the above link, noted that the change to the VC is probably too little, too late for Darrell Evans and Bill Madlock, two third basemen from the 1970s who played through the '80s and compiled borderline Hall of Fame careers.

That prompted comparing the three players' career splits. Santo had one helluva advantage during his career -- he played all of his home games during daylight hours at Wrigley Field. Almost all hitters produce better numbers at home than on the road and most do better in day games than at night under the lights. Santo, as his splits show, cashed in big-time from playing all of his home games during the day.

Home/Road OPS (on-base plus slugging)
Santo: 905 / 747
Madlock: 826 / 790
Evans: 806 / 778

Day/Night OPS
Santo: 875 / 717
Evans: 837 / 768
Madlock: 815 / 802
The fact is that Santo, when you took him out of Wrigley, was a less potent hitter than Evans or Madlock. That's not meant to paint him as a creation of his home ballpark, but it should reaffirm that people are awfully selective about who they choose to see as great or very good.

Neither Evans' nor Madlock's case will get very far with the Veterans' Committee. Neither got much support from the baseball writers. (For argument's sake, Dick Allen's home/road split was .932/.892 and his day/night split was .957/.888. If the Veterans' Committee new procedure gets him into the Hall of Fame, so much the better.)

How about those Blue Jays?
  • The Jays' two-game win streak has their record at 37-41 -- the same as it was after 78 games the first time Cito Gaston took over as manager in mid-season.

    Just sayin'.
  • Speaking of Griffin, did everyone catch his line that last night was "a chance to see future hall of famer Ken Griffey Jr. for the first time at the Rogers Centre?"

    Apparently, the 11 seasons Griffey where came to to Toronto with the Seattle Mariners don't count, because the stadium had a different name.
  • Try to remain calm at the news that the Jays might let deposed batting coach Gary Denbo come within 100 feet of their minor-league hitting prospects (Travis Snider and there's got to be another one -- right, Scott Campbell, J.P. Arencibia).
  • Jays minor-league pitcher Robert Ray, a right-hander who pitched a shutout tonight (10 strikeouts, zero walks!) from the Double-A team in New Hampshire, is going to bear further watching.

    Ray's not considered a big-time prospect. He's 24 and just getting to Double-A, but Shaun Marcum wasn't on many radar screens in 2005.
  • Jerry Reed can take care of the post-game wrapup.

    The best games are the ones you don't attend because the team is sucking out loud and then you get pleasantly surprised.
(Last but not least, buy the July/August issue of Quill & Quire -- our man Dan Rowe has an article in there.)

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