Santo: Hall veterans' vote needs change

Updated: December 9, 2008, 2:41 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

LAS VEGAS -- Ron Santo, who fell nine votes short of election by the Veterans Committee to the Baseball Hall of Fame, said the process needs to change after the committee failed to elect a new member for the fourth straight time.

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Appearing on The Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, former Cub Ron Santo says he thought this was going to be his year to go into the Hall of Fame. He asks why there's a veteran's committee if it never lets anyone into the Hall. Listen
The Veterans Committee, a 64-member panel made up exclusively of all living Hall of Fame players, votes every other year on players from 1943 and after. Santo, who spent 14 of his 15 seasons with the Chicago Cubs and is a longtime broadcaster for the team, led the voting with 39 votes, or 61 percent, but needed to be on 75 percent of the ballots to be voted into the hall.

''It's a travesty,'' Santo said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. ''When I saw nobody got in again, I go, 'Whoa, this is wrong.' They can't keep going the way they're going. They've got to put a [different] committee out there.''

"It'll be eight years now that they've voted and not let anybody in. And personally, I feel like there's a lot of guys that should've been in, not just me," Santo said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

However, Hall of Fame chairwoman Jane Forbes Clark noted that the goal of the two-stage veterans' process is not to elect someone every time they vote, according to the Sun-Times.

''The process was not redesigned with the goal of necessarily electing someone, but to give everyone on the ballot a very fair chance of earning election through a ballot of their peers,'' Clark said, according to the report.

Santo was an All-Star nine times. He finished his career with 342 home runs, 1,331 RBIs, a .277 lifetime batting average and five Gold Gloves.

While the post-1943 committee did not elect anyone to the hall, a smaller panel of just 12 members voting on players from 1942 and before did add a member to Cooperstown: New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians second baseman Joe Gordon.

"They have to change it," Santo said, according to the Tribune. "They're going to still have a Veterans Committee, but it should go back to where it was [in the '90s] when Bill Mazeroski got in. I think they should have a committee of maybe 12 guys that vote, that's the way to do it.

"Evaluate everyone, but instead of having all the [Hall of Fame] players vote, maybe just a couple players, a couple broadcasters, a couple writers -- a much smaller group. That's how [Joe] Gordon got in."

Santo said his life would not change because he's not in the Hall of Fame -- but he still believes he belongs in Cooperstown.

''Getting in or not getting in is not going to change my life at all. I'm going to be me, and that's it," Santo said, according to the Sun-Times. "But I feel I deserve this. I put up Hall of Fame numbers during the greatest era of baseball for pitchers, and I played with diabetes. Only diabetics can know what I went through. It would have just been satisfying [to be elected].''

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