The new baseball hall of fame class was announced today, and for the 2nd year Ryne Sandberg didn't make it. Hall voters are certainly a particular bunch, and I can only take solace in knowing that Ryno will make it eventually. ESPN.com's baseball writers have done their usual great job covering all the ups and downs of hall voting, especially in regards to all these great players of the 80s whose stats seem to be overshadowed by the stats of the offensive explosion of the 90s. I'm of the camp who believes players should be judged as a part of their own era, not necessarily against current hall of famers or against the statistics of other eras. From 1982 to 1992, was there a better second baseman than Ryne Sandberg in all of baseball? No. Time will prove this one, if it isn't proven already.
As a Cubs fan I'm certainly pulling for Andre Dawson, Bruce Sutter, and Lee Smith, three guys who could be hanging around on HOF ballots for a while. I could enjoy the fact that Dennis Eckersley was a Cub for a few years, but I don't think there will be any question why he'll be wearing an A's cap on his hall plaque. The real guy to be rooting for now is Ron Santo, a guy who's suffered through 15 years of not being voted in by the baseball writers and whose fate now lies in the hands of the Veterans Committee. He's a hall of famer in my book any day, and few have given so much to the game with the enthusiasm that Ronnie brings. I remember listening to the Cubs on the radio last summer and hearing Pat Hughes and Ron Santo call a tough inning where Kerry Wood gave up some runs but worked himself out of a tough jam to keep the Cubs in the lead. In typical Santo style, after the 3rd out was recorded all Ronnie had to say was, "I can't take much more of this...I gotta go change my pants!" Now that's a fan's fan.