Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cubs on a Roll

Last year second baseman Ryne Sandberg made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This year relief pitcher Bruce Sutter is the only man deemed worthy to enter the Hall. I'm just old enough to remember Sutter as a Cub during the early years of my baseball card collecting days. Too bad he went to the Cardinals when I was ten years old, although the Cubs didn't fare too badly since he was soon replaced by Lee Smith, another strong closer. While people wondered which baseball cap Sutter would be wearing in Cooperstown (sorry, it'll be the Redbirds), Chicago Tribune columnist Phil Rogers summed up the moment nicely: "For once, Chicagoans and their St. Louis friends can cheer the same result."

Who's next? Outfielder Andre Dawson, who finished fourth in the balloting this year, has a shot next year, although it will be hard to gain votes with so many writers voting for newly eligible Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, and Mark McGwire. Ripken could be a unanimous choice -- they might as well print the ballots with an "X" in the box next to his name -- and Gwynn should make it easily, but I wonder whether there will be some backlash against McGwire due to drug controversy. Whatever happens, Dawson may have to wait until at least 2008.

So when will the Cubs get a third baseman into the Hall? The veterans don't vote again until 2007, so let's hope This Old Cub, Ron Santo, can hang on until then and finally get what he deserves.

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