(My apologies. I actually prepared this post on the 7th, when it was due, but actually forgot to post it with all the baby-brain antics going on. But here it is, better late than never, for your enjoyment.)
As I write this, we are in baby-watch mode and currently clearing the runway. I apologize for not being as involved in answering questions this time around, but getting things ready for our new little Cards fan has taken up all of the time I can muster. But enough about my insomnia…let’s get to the question!
The Cardinals announced the list of Cardinals Hall of Fame inductee nominees yesterday — the names up for fan voting beginning tomorrow and running through April 22nd. The induction structure says only two will win the fan vote and be inducted. That’s going to make it VERY difficult for fans to choose between some tough names. Let’s make it a bit easier for ’em, eh?
This is a two-part question.
1) From the list of nominees, make your case for your two selections. Which two names will you vote for and why? Look at this as your opportunity to deliver a campaign speech the night before voting begins for two deserving individuals.
2) From the list of nominees, if you had to pick one name that DOES NOT belong on the first ever list of Cardinals Hall of Fame inductee names, who would it be and why? Approach this as if you were a member of the committee that had to eliminate one name from the list to get it down to only seven names instead of eight. Make your case for “the one that’s not like the others.”
Now get to it!
FYI – The list of names is as follows: Jim Edmonds, Bob Forsch, Keith Hernandez, Willie McGee, Mark McGwire, Matt Morris, Ted Simmons and Joe Torre
Wow, this is an extremely tough one to deal with. I expect every one of these players to get in eventually and I’d back each of them, so picking just two is bad enough, but eliminating one? Ugh.
If I had to eliminate one, I’d probably go with Matt Morris. I loved Matty Mo, but he never was the same after Darryl Kile died, at least statistically. I think he should go in sometime, but he’d well below the rest of this class when it comes to production in a Cardinal uniform.
The two I’d vote in first? Being that I made the suggestion yesterday that Bob Forsch could be considered the second-best pitcher in Cardinal history, I’d have to put him in there first. I don’t have the personal connection with Ted Simmons that I do with many of the others on this list, but given that he has a strong case for Cooperstown and most of that case was built in St. Louis, I’d probably go with him as my other pick.
That said, I don’t think you can go wrong with picking any two here.
– Daniel Shoptaw
1. Ted Simmons should not be on the ballot. He should have been elected by the BBWAA to Cooperstown along time ago. However, he was one and done on the ballot. He was one of the best hitting catchers of all time and yet, he was overshadowed in his career by the likes of Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk. This is why voting for Simmons is a no-brainer and maybe, just maybe, he gets looked at by the Vets Cmte once more.
The other player that I believe ought to be elected will be Jim Edmonds.
2. There’s not a single name that I would take off of the ballot. You can make arguments about Bob Forsch and Matt Morris not belonging because they didn’t have the numbers required for Cooperstown but this isn’t Cooperstown. This is the Cardinals Hall of Fame. Forsch was with the Cardinals during the 1980s when they won the NL Pennant 3 different times.
– Daniel Solzman
My two selections:
Ted Simmons: He rates with the top 5 hitting catchers in baseball. Check out my post on his truly remarkable 1973 season for the Cardinals: CLICK HERE.
Jim Edmonds: The combination of power (234 doubles, 241 home runs, 713 RBI as a Cardinal) and exceptional defense (six consecutive Gold Glove awards as a Cardinal) make him extra-special.
Does not belong:
Mark McGwire. His use of performance-enhancing drugs, and the lying and cover-up to protect his self-interest, disqualify him.
– Mark Tomasik
For question #1, I choose Willie McGee and Mark McGwire.
Willie is an iconic figure in Cardinal lore, that has been responsible for some of the most famous moments of the most recent generation. But in addition to that, he’s an MVP, two-time batting champ, three-time Gold Glove winner and carries a .295 career Cardinal average. Those are accolades nearly to the par of Ken Boyer, who’s actual number is retired, albeit under previous regimes standards level. Willie is the easy one and I think he walks in.
Secondly, I’m going with McGwire. What he did, how he did it and the aftermath all are what they are, but I’m far from qualified to be anybody’s moral police, so I’m not chasing that justice. What he did do however was reignite baseball when it desperately needed it and was a star of an otherwise semi-bleek stretch of Cardinal baseball. I’m not sure if I will ever feel the electric anticipation of his every at-bat go through a crowd the way it did in the late 90’s, and for that, I consider him to be among the great Cardinals of all-time.
As for who doesn’t belong for me, its Joe Torre. It’s not that he wasn’t a great player in St. Louis; an MVP (and a .363 average and 137 RBI to boot) in 1971. And while that should qualify him for this recognition eventually, it just seems a bit early that he makes it now over other candidates that could appear.
– Matt Whitener
This HOF selection is tough. I voted for Jimmy Edmonds and Willie McGee (Edmonds’ defense was magic out there but his offense came through when it was necessary). Willie McGee – He was another great center fielder, had a solid bat and is a St. Louis favorite. Love, love, love his humbleness!
No? I couldn’t pick one. Even McGwire w/his PED history did oodles for our city that year. He was my first choice but he did a lot for baseball and St. Louis that year.
– Mary Clausen
For the two who should be first ballot Cardinals HOF’ers, I would go with Bob Forsch and Ted Simmons. Forsch spent the vast majority of his career in a Cardinals uniform and his name can be found scattered throughout the Cards record book. Same thing goes for Simmons.
As for who should be taken off the ballot, I would have to go with Mark McGwire, but not for the PEDs (although that is part of it). The main reason I think he should be taken off the ballot is that, amongst all the players listed, he spent the fewest years with the Cardinals (5). Although those 5 years were incredible, he still spent the majority of his career with Oakland and I just cannot consider him a true Cardinal. Plus, the whole PED thing just tarnishes what little time he did spend with the Redbirds.
– Mark Sherrard
I’m going to have to agree with pretty much everyone in that Bob Forsch should get in first ballot. If I had to pick one from the more recent generation, though, it would be Jim Edmonds, so I’m going with those two.
As for the one to be left off the ballot, I am going to go with Joe Torre. He only played 6 years with the Cardinals, and he will always be more known for his managerial role with the Yankees. I mean, he’s going into Cooperstown with a Yankee symbol on his hat. So, that’s who I’d take off the ballot.
– Ben Chambers
1. Keith Hernandez and Ted Simmons. I make the case for Keith here.
2. Mark McGwire. Assuming that that Cardinals Hall of Fame uses the same criteria as the MLB HoF — “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” — McGwire shouldn’t be on the ballot.
Your question inspired me to post a voter’s guide on Fungoes.
– Matthew Phillip (Pip)
First, Pip, that voter’s guide is awesome!
And, based on reading the voter’s guide, my choices are Jim Edmonds and Ted Simmons.
As for who doesn’t belong, I’m going to have to regretfully say Matt Morris. Loved him as a Cardinal, and he is one of the few on that list who I saw play during my days as a Cardinals fan (since it’s only been since 2000), but I just don’t think he’s quite the same caliber as the others.
– Christine Coleman
The list isn’t an easy one to choose from but there are two obvious starters for me and that’s Bob Forsch and Jimmy Edmonds. Whether or not they are most deserving of the bunch can be left to ponder by others but they are both players who signify greatness at a position.
Forsch threw a couple of no hitters and wore the birds for most of his career while Edmonds gave the Cards the best center field defense they’d seen since Flood and a timely bat that produced a 6 year slice of greatness. Simmons is also very deserving but he comes after these two for me.
While Big Mac’s five year heroics for the game are covered in cloudy drug matter and he was basically an all or nothing hitter with no defensive ability the player who gets pushed off that list is Morris. While he mastered the greatest chin lip stache of all time, he only produced a few solid seasons as a top line starter. Kile’s death did do a number on him I think. He was solid but not HOF worthy.
– Dan Buffa
Thanks, Christine! Though it was supposed to entice you to vote for Hernandez! 😉
– Matthew Phillip (Pip)
Whew. I have to say, the HOF vote has turned out to be much tougher than I originally thought it would be. The UCBers make excellent cases for all of their choices…but when it comes down to it, the results of the UCB Roundtable discussion are:
1. HOF Selections: Ted Simmons (6 votes), Jim Edmonds (6 votes), Bob Forsch (4 votes), Willie McGee (2 votes), Mark McGwire (1 vote), and Keith Hernandez (1 vote).
2. HOF List Eliminations: Matt Morris (4 votes), Mark McGwire (4 votes), and Joe Torre (2 votes).
I have to say, I’m shocked that Jim Edmonds was selected by the voters over Willie McGee considering McGee’s iconic status in St. Louis. Perhaps this due to both Edmonds’ more recent playing career and his current presence on FSN-Midwest, but it still surprised me. I was also surprised to find that Mark McGwire — a player many fans swear should be in the National HOF every year — received as many votes as Matt Morris for the lead in elimination votes. Apparently Cardinals Nation has a harder time forgiving the one-time PED user than even they previously believed when it comes right down to it.
In the end, Simmons’ HOF-worthy resume and Edmonds’ modern-day heroics won the UCB vote, while Morris gets bumped from the list of nominees due to McGwire’s one HOF selection vote and Morris’ zero (even though both received 4 votes each for elimination).
Interesting note: The voting was so widely varied that one of the leaders for elimination votes actually received a vote for selection! (and could have been considered a favorite for selection heading into the voting process — let’s not forget the already-commissioned statue of McGwire in the bowels of Busch III).
Oh…and in case you’re wondering…I’m abstaining for now. I’ll write a post later in the process about my own selections…once I have time to think on it ;).
(Go here for more UCB Roundtable discussions: UCB Site.)