It took the very last vote cast to break a three-way tie, but Ron Santo, in his 16th ballot appearance, eked out a one-vote victory, over both his longtime teammate Ernie Banks and Juan Marichal.  Santo becomes the 51st inductee into the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats.  More on Ron and the voting after the jump (down the chimney?).

Over the seven-year period from 1964 through 1970, Fangraph’s version of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) has Ron Santo as the most valuable everyday player in the major leagues:
1. Ron Santo 50.7
2. Carl Yastrzemski 49.2
3. Hank Aaron 48.5
4. Willie Mays 48.1
5. Roberto Clemente 45.3

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Regardless of whether you use Baseball-reference’s WAR or the Fangraphs version, Santo leads all Cubs in Wins Above Replacement going back to 1882, more than 130 years.  Here’s the list for Cubs WAR in the b-ref version since 1882:
1. Ron Santo 72.2
2. Ryne Sandberg 67.8
3. Ernie Banks 67.7
4. Cap Anson 64.0
5. Billy Williams 62.0

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Observations regarding the 1929 round of voting:

–Not only did Santo finish a mere one vote ahead of Banks and Marichal, he was only two votes ahead of Bobby Grich and only four ahead of both Lou Whitaker and Sandy Koufax. The tightest bunching of candidates at the top of the voting in COG history.

–No one from the 1929 birth-year group received more than one vote.  With Santo promoted from the holdover list into the Circle, that would reduce the holdover list that had been twelve names long down to eleven, but Eddie Murray and Harmon Killebrew won our simultaneous redemption round, edging out Kevin Brown and Roberto Alomar.  With the newly redeeemed Murray and Killebrew, the holdover list in the next round will be up to thirteen names.

–In this very evenly-matched round, two candidates “on the bubble” (i.e. subject to falling off the ballot with a single sub-10% result) Bobby Grich and Willie McCovey, appeared on more than 25% of the ballots and are thus no longer on the bubble.  But our other four bubble-boys remain: Biggio, Sandberg, Lofton and Edgar Martinez.  And they will be joined on the bubble in the next round by Murray and Killebrew.

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The full spreadsheet showing this round’s vote tally is here: COG 1929 Vote Tally.

The vote summary for recent Circle of Greats voting rounds is here: COG Vote Summary 2 .  An archive with fuller details of the 1968 through 1939 rounds is here: COG 1968-1939 Vote Summary .  In both cases, raw vote totals for each past round appears on Sheet 1 and the percentage totals for each past round appears on Sheet 2.

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A spreadsheet listing the full membership to date of the Circle of Greats is here: Circle of Greats Inducted Players . You can also now find that same link any time by clicking on “Circle of Greats” at the top of the High Heats Stats home page.

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