Ron Santo: Offensive numbers and Gold Gloves finally add up to a HOF invitation

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Cubs retired flag for Ron Santo

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo was inducted yesterday into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Santo was inducted after his election through the Golden Era Committee.

With offensive numbers that included 342 home runs, 1,331 RBI, a .277 career batting average and the National League leader in walks four times, and a resume that included nine All-Star Game selections, you would have assumed, like many people did, that Santo would have made an appearance in Cooperstown sooner.

Defensively, Santo was one of a handful of players who won five or more consecutive Gold Gloves. He won his each season from 1964-68. He is one of only seven third basemen to win five-plus consecutive Gold Gloves. They are:

Brooks Robinson (16) 1960-75

Mike Schmidt (9) 1976-84

Buddy Bell (6) 1979-84

Eric Chavez (6) 2001-06

Ron Santo (5) 1964-68

Doug Radar (5) 1970-74

Scott Rolen (5) 2000-04

Fifty-one different players have won the Gold Glove in five or more consecutive seasons (Note: It has happened 52 times; pitcher Greg Maddux accomplished this twice, once in 13 consecutive seasons, the other time in five straight seasons.) Following is a look at those players who hold the mark for most consecutive Gold Gloves at each position.

Pitcher: Jim Kaat (14) 1962-75

Catcher: Johnny Bench (10) 1968-77 and Ivan Rodriguez (10) 1992-2001

First Baseman: Keith Hernandez (11) 1978-88

Second Baseman: Ryne Sandberg (9) 1983-91

Third Baseman: Brooks Robinson (16) 1960-75

Shortstop: Ozzie Smith (13) 1980-1992

Outfielder: Willie Mays (12) 1957-68 and Roberto Clemente (12) 1961-72

In case you were wondering, here are the current longest streaks for most consecutive Gold Gloves:

4 years: Yadier Molina (catcher)

3 years: Mark Buehrle (pitcher)

2 years: Brandon Phillips (second baseman) and Troy Tulowitzki (shortstop)

Note: Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki had his string of 10 straight Gold Gloves snapped last year.

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4 responses

  1. Very happy that Santo is now a member of the MLB HOF, but still peeved it did not happen when he was alive to enjoy it.

    Thought it was pretty odd that Joe Morgan was in attendance and sitting behind Santo’s widow….he was one of the guys who kept him out of the HOF for so many years!

    1. I agree, Bill. I would have liked to have seen Santo there to accept his honor. Next year (and the next couple of years) will be really interesting when you consider some of the players that will be eligible for the Hall starting in 2013. Good to hear from you, Bill. Thanks for writing.

  2. yes, the next few years will be interesting indeed…..

    I wonder if we will see “HOF Inductions” or “HOF INJECTIONS”??

    1. If any of the “steriod” players do make the Hall next year, it will be interesting to see which Hall of Famers come back for the ceremony and sit behind the inductees when they are giving their speech. I have a feeling that it may be a sparse crowd behind them if any of those players get enough votes to make the Hall in 2013.

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