The Veterans Commitee has seen fit to open the doors of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown to Ron Santo. The late Cubs third baseman was voted in on December 5, 2011, almost exactly a year to the day that he died. Santo has some good credentials. He was a nine time All Star and a five time Gold Glove winner. He managed just a .277 career batting average and his 342 career home runs are certainly impressive, but Hall worthy?? In my mind, Santo was given a push by former teammate Billy Williams, who no doubt influenced the other voters on the commitee. I am not here to denigrate Santo, though. I am just stunned by the lack of respect shown to Luis Tiant.
I have written about the great El Tiante in this space before. None other than Peter Gammons has said that Tiant is the best player not enshrined in the Hall. As I said, Santo will be inducted, posthumously, this July. I spoke to Tiant a couple of seasons ago about this very subject, and it isn’t something he’d be OK with. “If those ****** vote me in after I’m dead, I swear I’ll come back and haunt them.” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t kidding. While Santo was the only one to receive the necessary 75% of the vote, Tiant was listed last with Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Allie Reynolds and Charlie Finley for receiving less than three votes. The Veterans Commitee won’t vote again on Tiant for another three years.
Remember the movie starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, “Trading Places”? There’s a new version starring Bobby Valentine and Terry Francona. Essentially, the pair has flip-flopped jobs. While Valentine has taken over as manager of the Red Sox, Tito has been hired by ESPN as a Sunday Night Baseball analyst and a member of the Baseball Tonight panel.
First caution flag of the Valentine era. How poor is his judgement, assuming it’s true, wanting to add Bill Buckner to his staff? The goat of the 1986 World Series, back in a Sox uniform??? No way. While most politically correct people claim to have forgiven him, I don’t think there’s a Sox fan out there that would really want to see him back in town. There are just too many good baseball guys out there to make Buckner a Sox coach. It’s like Valentine is going to test the water and see just how far he can push. Not a great idea and I think the Boston Brass has the good sense to realize it. If this is he Valentine mindset, I worry. I did say I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. Since his hiring, all we’ve heard is how great he is. As I tweeted the other night, if he is so great, why has he been out of the Major Leagues for so long? We shall see. And for the record, I still don’t forgive Buckner.