Chicago Cubs Mount Rushmore

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: A general view of the 'W' flag flying after the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in game four of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 18, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: A general view of the 'W' flag flying after the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in game four of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 18, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Ron Santo (1960-1973)

It took far too long for Ron Santo to get the recognition he deserved.

One of the best third basemen in the 1960s, Santo became one of the Chicago Cubs stars. He was a nine time All Star and five time Gold Glove winner, overcoming his early defensive shortcomings during his minor league career. Santo had a stellar batting eye, leading the National League in walks four times. In addition, he was a solid slugger, hitting over 20 homers in 11 of his 14 major league seasons.

A key part of the Cubs lineup, Santo’s numbers were better than they looked. He played in what was essentially the second Dead Ball Era, deflating offensive production around the game. Nonetheless, he produced a solid .279/.366/.472 batting line with the Cubs, good for a 128 OPS+. Santo also hit 337 homers and 353 doubles, showcasing that excellent pop.

Unfortunately, it took far too long for his greatness to be recognized. He was on the Hall of Fame ballot for 15 years, but never got more than 43.1% of the vote. After years of being considered the best player not inducted into the Hall, he was finally immortalized in 2012. However, he had passed away a year prior due to cancer, making his induction bittersweet.

One of the great players of the 1960s, Ron Santo deserved to get his due long before he did. At least he was finally immortalized in Cooperstown.