The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 was announced yesterday. Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza were the only two candidates elected this year. I have a Junior story to share, so humor me. My husband and I attended a weeknight Cards-Reds game at Busch Stadium II in 2001. We were sitting in Power Alley in right field. Junior came up to bat and smacked a home run ball so hard that it left a dent in the round metal table that sat 2 rows of tables down from us. The sound that the ball made when it hit the table was so loud that it scared me half to death. I was not fast enough to get down there and get the ball, unfortunately. Younger legs than mine beat me to it.
Jim Edmonds and David Eckstein, Cardinals heroes from the 2000’s, were on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year. Unfortunately, neither one of them received more than the 5 percent of votes required to stay on the ballot, so they will no longer be on the ballot. I wish that Jim and David had been able to stay a couple of more years on the ballot before they dropped off. Perhaps HOF ballot candidates should make and send videos of their performances to the writers like actors do for the Oscars. “For your consideration – “ The only way either David or Jim would be elected to the HOF now would be a selection by the Veterans’ Committee.
Players who are elected to the Hall of Fame (and those who are even on the ballot) are held to a higher standard than your average major league ballplayer. Not only do you have to have the numbers to qualify, you need to be a class act off of the field as well. If you want to be elected to the Hall of Fame, there are standards that have to be upheld. After all, you are going to be an immortal.
Here are my thoughts on why Jim didn’t get more votes. When Jim played for the Angels, he was not a popular player. Viva El Birdos did a great post on this, which you can read here. I also found an article in the Sports Illustrated Vault that goes into much more detail. The California writers remember this and it may have influenced their votes. He was better loved after he was traded to St. Louis. His numbers in St. Louis are probably why he was on the ballot in the first place.
Thankfully, Jim is in the Cardinals Hall of Fame, where he belongs anyway. He looks great in the red jacket and his spectacular plays in center field will be remembered by Cardinals fans for years to come.
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and see you next time!