2019 Cardinals Hall of Fame voting now open

While we’re waiting for the regular season to begin, it’s time once again for us fans to vote 2 new members into the Cardinals Hall of Fame.  It’s great to reminisce about these players and how they contributed to the Cardinals during their tenure with the team.  All of the candidates are great and it’s hard to pick just two.  Here are all the details you need to know about the balloting and this year’s candidates for your consideration:

The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame fan balloting process is now open at cardinals.com/HOF.  Fans can select two players for election from a ballot that includes Cardinals greats Keith Hernandez, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria, Scott Rolen, and John Tudor.

The six modern ballot nominees were selected by a Red Ribbon committee of Cardinals baseball experts through a secret ballot process in January.  The Cardinals Hall of Fame Fan Vote, presented by Edward Jones, will run through Friday, April 12.  The two players with the most votes will be announced on Friday, April 26, at 6:00 p.m. during a televised 30-minute Hall of Fame announcement special on FOX Sports Midwest, and also in a pregame ceremony at Busch Stadium before the Cardinals face the Cincinnati Reds.

The formal enshrinement ceremony for the sixth Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 24, at FOX Sports Midwest Live! in Ballpark Village as part of the 2019 Cardinals Hall of Fame Weekend.  The induction ceremony is free to attend.

The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame was established as a way to recognize the exceptional careers and significant achievements of the greatest players in Cardinals history.  To be eligible, players must have played for the Cardinals for at least three seasons and must be retired as a player from Major League Baseball for at least three years.  The eligible pool of players is divided into two categories of “modern players” and “veteran players”.  If a player retired more than 40 years prior to the induction year, he is classified as a veteran player.

In addition to nominating modern players for fan balloting, the Red Ribbon committee also elected a veteran player for induction using a secret ballot process.  Independent of this process, the Cardinals organization may also opt to induct an individual who was an important figure in Cardinals history, such as a coach, broadcaster or member of the front office.

Each member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame will be permanently enshrined in the Cardinals Hall of Fame Gallery presented by Edward Jones located on the second floor of Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village, just outside the entrance to the team’s museum.  The Hall of Fame Gallery is free and open to the public.  The plaques that adorn the gallery are produced by Matthews International, the company that also produces the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Fans can check cardinals.com/HOF for more details about the 2019 Cardinals Hall of Fame Weekend and also find information about other events at the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum that weekend.

The following is a description of each Hall of Fame nominee’s career as a Cardinal:

Keith Hernandez

Years: 1974 – 1983                       .299/.385/.448, 1217 H, 265 2B, 81 HR, 595 RBI, 662 R (1165 Games)

Keith Hernandez played 10 seasons with the Cardinals, winning six straight Gold Gloves from 1978-1983 at first base.  He was a National League co-MVP in 1979, batting a league-leading .344 with 48 doubles, 11 home runs, and 105 RBI.  The two-time All-Star was a member of the 1982 World Championship team and batted .299 that season with 94 RBI.  Hernandez’s .385 on-base percentage ranks fifth all-time among Cardinals hitters to have played at least 10 seasons with the club.

Jason Isringhausen

Years: 2002 – 2008                       217 Saves, 2.98 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 408.0 IP (401 Games)

Jason Isringhausen spent seven seasons as the Cardinals closer. During his tenure, the Cardinals won the Central Division four times, capturing the pennant in 2004 and 2006 and winning the World Series in 2006.  He registered a National League-best 47 saves in 2004, tying Lee Smith’s franchise record until Trevor Rosenthal saved 48 in 2015.  An All-Star in 2005, “Izzy” holds the franchise record for saves with 217 and ranks third among Cardinals relief pitchers with 373 strikeouts.  His 401 appearances, all in relief, are the sixth most in club history.

Matt Morris

Years: 1997 – 2005                        101-62, 3.61 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 18 CG, 8 SHO, 1377.1 IP (206 Games Started)

A first-round draft pick, Matt Morris made his Major League debut less than two years after being taken 12th overall in the 1995 amateur draft.  In his 1997 rookie season, Morris made 33 starts and finished with a 12-9 record and a 3.19 ERA, tying him for second among Rookie of the Year balloting.  A National League All-Star in 2001 and 2002, Morris finished third in Cy Young voting in 2001 after winning a Major League-best 22 games.  In his eight seasons with the club, Morris recorded at least 11 wins six times, won four division titles and started 11 postseason games.  Matt’s 986 strikeouts rank sixth on the team’s all-time list and his .620 winning percentage is seventh-best in club history.

Edgar Renteria

Years: 1999 – 2004                       .290/.347/.420, 451 RBI, 207 2B, 148 SB (903 Games)

Edgar Renteria played six seasons with the Cardinals and was named a National League All-Star three times (2000, 2003, 2004).  The Colombian shortstop won two Gold Gloves while with St. Louis in 2002 and 2003, and three Silver Slugger Awards in 2000, 2002 and 2003.  Renteria batted .330 in 2003, a franchise single-season record for a shortstop, as are the 47 doubles he hit that season.  His career high 100 RBI in 2003 ranks second among all St. Louis shortstops for a single season. Renteria’s 37 stolen bases his first season with the Cardinals are the most in a single-season since that time and his 148 steals while with St. Louis ranks second in franchise history among shortstops.

Scott Rolen

Years: 2002 – 2007                       .286/.370/.510, 678 H, 421 R, 173 2Bs, 111 HR, 453 RBI (661 Games)

In his five-plus seasons with the Cardinals, Scott Rolen dominated the hot corner winning Gold Gloves in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006.  He was named a National League All-Star in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and captured a Silver Slugger award in 2002.  In 2004, Rolen slashed .314/.409/.598 with 34 home runs and 124 RBI.  His stellar 2004 campaign continued during the postseason with his pennant-clinching, two-run homer off Roger Clemens in the 6th inning of Game 7 of the National League Championship Series vs. Houston.  During Busch Stadium II’s final season in 2005, Rolen was voted by Cardinals fans as the third baseman to the All-Busch Stadium team.  In 2006, Rolen helped the club to its 10th World Championship, closing out the postseason with a 10-game hitting streak.

John Tudor

Years: 1985 – 1988, 1990            62-26, 2.52 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 22 CG, 12 SHO, 881.2 IP (125 Games Started)

During his five seasons in a Cardinals uniform, John Tudor accumulated a .705 winning percentage and 2.52 ERA over 125 starts, both of which still stand as all-time Cardinals records (minimum 750.0 IP).  The left-hander’s finest season came in 1985 when he won 21 games (went 20-1 after June 1) with a minuscule 1.93 ERA, including 10 complete game shutouts, and finished second in National League Cy Young voting.  A member of two National League pennant-winning teams in 1985 and 1987, Tudor won at least 10 games in each of the four full seasons he pitched for the Redbirds.

Cardinals Hall of Fame Members

Jim Bottomley, Ken Boyer, Sam Breadon, Harry Brecheen, Lou Brock, Jack Buck, August A. “Gussie” Busch Jr., Chris Carpenter, Vince Coleman, Dizzy Dean, Jim Edmonds, Curt Flood, Bob Forsch, Frank Frisch, Bob Gibson, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines, Whitey Herzog, Rogers Hornsby, George Kissell, Tony La Russa, Ray Lankford, Marty Marion, Pepper Martin, Tim McCarver, Willie McGee, Mark McGwire, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Terry Moore, Stan Musial, Branch Rickey, Red Schoendienst, Mike Shannon, Ted Simmons, Enos Slaughter, Ozzie Smith, Billy Southworth, Bruce Sutter and Joe Torre.

2019 Cardinals Hall of Fame Red Ribbon Selection Committee

Tom Ackerman,  Frank Cusumano,  Derrick Goold, Whitey Herzog, Benjamin Hochman, Rick Hummel, Randy Karraker,  Martin Kilcoyne, Jenifer Langosch,  Tony La Russa, Bernie Miklasz, Joe Ostermeier, Rob Rains and Brian Walton.

My regular readers know I’m a John Tudor fangirl, so of course, I will be voting for him.  If he is elected, I will be attending the induction ceremony.  I wouldn’t miss that for the world.  My other vote?  Scott Rolen.  Who will you be voting for?  Leave a comment below.

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As you know, Bryce Harper signed with Philadelphia for 13 years with no opt-outs for stupid money.  How crazy is that? I think if I were a player, I would want at least one opt-out. I am glad that the Cards didn’t sign him.  That frees up money to sign Paul Goldschmidt to an extension, which I hope the Cardinals do soon.  I was happy that the Cards extended Miles Mikolas and signed Jose Martinez to a two-year contract.

Spring training is underway, and the Cards pitchers (with the exception of Carlos Martinez, who is injured again – surprise, surprise!) are on fire.  Today, Jack Flaherty had 9 K’s, with 7 K’s in a row.  The Cards haven’t won many games in spring training, although it’s okay to lose them now, just not during the regular season.  My man Harrison Bader needs to work with hitting coach Jeff Albert on his hitting and with Jose Oquendo on his baserunning.

That’s all for tonight.  Thanks for reading as always and see you next time!

Diane

Preseason ponderings and burning questions for the regular season

The last game of the preseason is tonight. The reason I called it a preseason game is because last night’s and tonight’s game are not in Florida, so they can’t be spring training games. You can watch tonight’s game for free on MLB.TV – just go to mlb.com, select the Cardinals-Blue Jays game in the scoreboard section and click on the TV icon. The game starts at 6:07 PM CST, so hopefully you’re not reading this too late to watch it.

It was a little disconcerting following last night’s game on Gameday only.  The game wasn’t broadcast on KMOX or on FOX Sports or any other cable network. It felt like the 1960’s and 1970’s when very few games were televised and you could only follow the game on KMOX. But the regular season starts in only 2 days and I’ll be able to watch and/or listen to all the baseball I want! Are you excited? I am. Here’s some of my thoughts on spring training and the season to come.

Spring training notes:

Amazingly, the Cardinals escaped spring training without a major injury, such as a pitcher needing Tommy John surgery. However, Adam Wainwright and Luke Gregerson suffered hamstring strains. Both Adam and Luke injured their hamstrings in a sprint drill. Why the heck are pitchers doing sprint drills? Pitchers do not do that much running, unless they manage to get on base. A pitcher would not need to sprint to cover first base. Gregerson also suffered an oblique injury earlier in spring training. Both Adam and Luke are on the disabled list to start the season. At least those are minor injuries.

Carson Kelly, Yadi’s backup last year, was sent down to Memphis. Yadi’s stamina has improved with age to the point that he hardly ever takes a day off. Carson’s offense has suffered as a result of not getting enough playing time, and that carried over to spring training. Carson needs to be playing every day in order to improve, and not ride the bench while Yadi plays. Be patient, young padawan; your time will come. Francisco Pena, the son of former Cardinals catcher Tony Pena, will be the backup catcher.

Jack Flaherty was lights out in spring training. He is definitely one of the starters in the rotation of the future. The future is now, however, as Jack will be taking Wainwright’s place in the rotation until Waino’s hamstring heals.

Yairo Munoz, one of the prospects obtained in the Stephen Piscotty trade, was very good in spring training. His great offense helped him make the team as an infield backup. It was reported that his mother cried when he told her the news. I would have cried too if one of my kids had played baseball and I was told that he/she had been added to the major league squad.

Burning questions:

Since no closer has been chosen, will the 9th inning be closer by committee? Dominic Leone and Tyler Lyons appear to be the top candidates for the closer position.

Carlos Martinez has shown flashes of greatness. Will he get it together and be the dominant pitcher we know he can be? Although some fans like Carlos’ funky hair colors, I think it’s a distraction. Save the funky colors for the off-season, Carlos.

Will Mike Matheny micromanage the team and keep Mike Maddux, Willie McGee and Jose Oquendo from doing their jobs effectively?

Will Tommy Pham have another season like he did last season? Or will his vision problems give him more trouble?

Will Jose Martinez get enough playing time? If Pham gets hurt, Fowler could be moved back to center field and Jose could play right field.

Will Michael Wacha’s shoulder stay healed? He has pitched very well in spring training. Here’s hoping he’s regained his 2013 form and will be the dominant pitcher he was then.

I have a great deal for you.  Is T-Mobile your cell phone provider? If not, you should hurry up and switch to T-Mobile – they are offering a great perk:  a free season of MLB.TV,  through their T-Mobile Tuesdays app. That means you can watch all out-of- market baseball games on your cellphone, tablet, etc. All you need is an MLB.com account. This deal is only good through April 7. I discovered this great perk in the app last Tuesday and it made me really glad that I had switched to T-Mobile from AT&T.

Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

When the pitcher isn’t a pitcher

The gray sky over downtown St. Louis today matches their fans’ mood after last night’s game – a 17-5 loss, against the Cubs, which makes it completely embarrassing. Cubs fans will never let us live down last night’s game. The Cardinals are definitely not playing like a team who won the National League pennant last year. There’s an old saying that goes, “You have to hit bottom before you can get back up.” Hopefully, last night’s game was the bottom and the Cardinals will regroup and figure out what’s going wrong. It’s still early in the season, but the problems need to get fixed now before they get even worse. The Cards did make some roster moves today, putting last night’s starter, LHP Tyler Lyons, on the DL with a left shoulder strain (hmm, could this be why 7 runs were scored off him?), optioned RHP Eric Fortunato to Memphis, and recalled LHP Sam Freeman and RFP Jorge Rondon from Memphis.

There are many reasons for the Cardinals’ implosion, and they are being covered very well by my fellow Cardinals bloggers. But this post isn’t about that. Daniel Descalso was brought into the game to pitch last night, and it reminded me of a time when another utility player was brought in to pitch.

On May 14, 1988, the Cards played the Braves at Busch Stadium II. The game was tied 5-5 when manager Whitey Herzog brought in utility player Jose Oquendo (a/k/a “The Secret Weapon”) to pitch in the 16th inning after running out of pitchers. Amazingly, Jose pitched 3 scoreless innings before being tagged for a 2 run double by Ken Griffey, Jr. in the 19th inning, and he took the loss. Jose was the first non-pitcher in 20 years to get a decision. His pitching line was 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 1 SO. This was also one of Whitey’s many games where he pulled a double switch and had a pitcher play in the outfield, who in this case was Jose DeLeon. You can read more about this game in greater detail at the link here.

I remember this game well.  It was a Saturday night, and I was at a bar called Gilligan’s (which was not named after the TV show) shooting darts with my then-boyfriend Andrew and our buddy Gene. I looked up at the game on the bar’s TV to see how the game was going and was shocked to see Jose on the mound. I turned to Andrew and said, “Have I drunk too many beers or is that Jose Oquendo pitching?” My eyesight had not failed me, nor had I had too much to drink; it was indeed Jose on the mound.

My hubby (who was just a friend then; we didn’t start dating until 1990) was at the game that night with another friend of ours and her boyfriend. He made the mistake of mentioning before the game that he had never been to an extra inning game before. Bad move there, Mike!

Tomorrow is the 26th anniversary of the game in which Jose was called on to pitch. Will fans be saying 26 years from now, “Remember that horrible 17-5 loss to the Cubs when Daniel Descalso was brought in to pitch?” Probably not. Adam Wainwright is the starter tonight, and hopefully he will be able to turn the floundering S.S. Cardinals around and keep it from sinking.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Bibliography:

“Jose Oquendo,” Wikipedia,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Oquendo

Los Angeles Times, “St. Louis’ Oquendo Pitches 4 Innings, Loses in 19th,” http://articles.latimes.com/1988-05-15/sports/sp-4246_1_st-louis-cardinals

The Hardball Times, “25th Anniversary:  The Jose Oquendo Game,” http://www.hardballtimes.com/tht-live/25th-anniversary-the-jose-oquendo-game/