Originally Posted by palehosepub
Bill Melton, the first player I really "latched onto" about 1969 as a 7 year old. Although he was a very good player who won a home run title I always thought he going to be a Hall of Famer. I would always argue with the Cub fans in the neighborhood how much better Melton was than Santo. Maybe if he didn't blow out his back he could have piled up some big numbers.
The scarey part is that I am now 50 years old and I still believe that Melton was better than Santo and Santo is a HOFer due to a Cubs / Tribune conspiracy.
Probably time for counseling or therapy...
I think Melton could have been a better hitter than Santo, although the numbers don't show it. Melton played in a notorious pitchers' park, and the friendly confines were very friendly to hitters. Santo also hit in a lineup with Billy Williams and Ernie Banks. Melton was strongly criiticied by baseball analysts for striking out too much (once as many as 107 times in a season), although there wasn't a big difference between Melton's strikeout and Santo's in the late 1960s. Over their careers, Santo struck out at a slightly higher rate.
Santo was clearly the better third baseman, especially early in their careers. Melton was an outfielder who was converted to a third baseman in the minors a year before coming up to the majors as a third baseman. The year they two were teammates, Santo played a lot of second base. But Santo was five years older and at the end of his career.
I never believed Melton was going to the Hall of Fame, but I have never believed Santo belonged in the Hall of Fame.
I was a huge Melton fan, though. And a huge Carlos May fan. When I was a kid, I thought of May and Melton the way Giants fans thought of Mays and McCovey. But it wasn't only Giants fans who were in love with Mays and McCovey, and, of course, baseball fans are still in love with the memory of Mays and McCovey.