I very much agree with you about Ron Santo. When I started writing about Hall issues years ago, there were three main omissions which irritated me: Richie Ashburn, Bill Mazeroski, and Santo. The problem is that the Hall voters can't seem to get it through their heads that defense is important. They consistently overlook players who are worthy of the Hall, either for their defensive accomplishments, or for a combination of offense and defense, as in the case of Santo.
Now, Ashburn and Mazeroski have been enshrined, but Santo is still waiting. No doubt he is worthy based on his total career (offense and defense).
Another omission whch has come up in more recent years is Keith Hernandez. The best defensive first baseman ever, and a pretty darn good hitter as well. Yet, Keith got dropped off the ballot when he failed to receive even 5% of the vote!
The last part of your column speaks to another problem with Hall voting. Voting is set up so that a person has to be considered in a single category; i.e., total contributions to the game cannot be considered. I agree with you that total contributions *should* be considered, but as of now they are not. Santo, like Richie Ashburn, has made considerable contributions in broadcasting after his playing career ended. Certainly Ashburn would have been admnitted sooner had total contributions been considered. Certainly Leo Durocher would have been admitted sooner had his playing and managing career *both* been considered. And other examples could be mentioned as well.
Keep up the good work on the sports pages. I'm with Earl Warren, who famously said "I always turn to the sports page first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing, but man's failures."