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Santo counting on peers
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02/25/2003 11:48 AM ET 
Santo counting on peers
Vote now for the 2003 All-Star game
Ron Santo will help instruct current Cubs third baseman Mark Bellhorn during Spring Training. (AP)
MESA, Ariz. -- Ron Santo did not receive even 5 percent of the vote by the Baseball Writers Association of America when he made his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot back in 1980. That year was the first Santo was eligible for consideration for Cooperstown.

Santo was reinstated to the BBWAA ballot in 1985, but he still failed to receive sufficient votes to be inducted. The highest percentage he received from the BBWAA was 43.1 percent in 1998.

On Wednesday, Santo will find out if he will gain entry to Cooperstown through the revamped Veterans Committee. This time, the 85 living Hall of Fame members voted. Santo will need 75 percent of the vote to get into the Hall. The former Chicago Cubs third baseman played in a different era, and knows his peers recognize that.

"It was the starters -- you'd face three top starters every time," Santo said of the pitchers he had to battle. "It was a different era. A player can realize that more than a writer."

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WGN TV broadcaster and former big league pitcher Steve Stone agrees.

"Almost every team then had a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher," Stone said.

If Santo, who turned 63 on Tuesday, gets enough votes, he'll find out Wednesday.

"I guess I just look at it like I want it at this time because of what I've been through health-wise," said Santo, a double amputee who has had both legs amputated because of complications with diabetes.

Does Santo compare his numbers with those of other third basemen?

"I base it on the caliber of player I was and the numbers I put up in 15 years," he said. "Nobody then knew how difficult it was playing with Type 1 diabetes. Nobody. Not even the players. I looked the same as everybody else. Nobody realized what I went through."

Here are the players elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America in the years Santo was eligible for election and the percentage of votes Santo received each year.

Year Santo % Inducted
1980  3.9  Al Kaline, Duke Snider
1985  13.4  Lou Brock, Hoyt Wilhelm
1986  15.1  Willie McCovey
1987  18.9  Catfish Hunter, Billy Williams
1988  25.3  Willie Stargell
1989  16.8  Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski
1990  21.6  Joe Morgan, Jim Palmer
1991  26.2  Rod Carew, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry
1992  31.6  Rollie Fingers Tom Seaver
1993  36.6  Reggie Jackson
1994  33.0  Steve Carlton
1995  30.2  Mike Schmidt
1996  36.9  None
1997  39.3  Phil Niekro
1998  43.1  Don Sutton

By Position

P: Carlton, Fingers, Hunter, Jenkins, Niekro, Palmer, Perry, Seaver, Sutton, Wilhelm
C: Bench
1B: McCovey
2B: Carew, Morgan
3B: Schmidt
SS: None
LF: Brock, Stargell, Williams, Yastrzemski
CF: Snider
RF: Jackson, Kaline

Source: Chicago Cubs research historian Ed Hartig

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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