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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Reader poll – Which two should be Cardinals Hall of Famers?

As I hope you read over on the main site, TheCardinalNation.com, the St. Louis Cardinals are announcing the eight players to appear on the ballot for the club’s first-ever Hall of Fame vote.

They are Jim Edmonds, Bob Forsch, Keith Hernandez, Willie McGee, Mark McGwire, Matt Morris, Ted Simmons and Joe Torre.

Fan voting will open this Friday, March 7 and run approximately six weeks at cardinals.com/HOF. In the interim, I thought I would run a quick poll to gauge how readers feel about the candidates.

After all, a case could be made for any of the eight, but my biggest questions are in a comparative sense, since only two modern era players can enter annually.

Can a relative old-timer like Simmons outdistance a more recent fan favorite in McGee? Could a consistently strong performer in Edmonds outpoll a player whose peak was like no other in McGwire? Should Morris enter the Hall before Forsch, the only Cardinal to ever throw two no-hitters? Which MVP first baseman is more deserving – Hernandez or Torre?

Since only two players will be selected via the annual fan voting, we will allow two votes here, as well. This poll will be open for just 48 hours, closing on Friday when the official balloting begins.

As always, please share your thoughts on the candidates below.

Who are your top two choices to enter the Cardinals Hall of Fame?

  • Ted Simmons (60%, 130 Votes)
  • Willie McGee (54%, 117 Votes)
  • Jim Edmonds (41%, 89 Votes)
  • Bob Forsch (26%, 56 Votes)
  • Mark McGwire (14%, 31 Votes)
  • Joe Torre (6%, 13 Votes)
  • Keith Hernandez (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Matt Morris (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 215

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From the team’s press release, following is a description of each nominee’s career as a Cardinal:

Jim Edmonds (#EdmondsHOF)

.285 AVG, 241 HR, 713 RBIs

Jim Edmonds joined the Cardinals in 2000 and played eight seasons, making the postseason in six of them and playing in two World Series, winning in 2006.  The three-time All-Star won six consecutive Gold Gloves from 2000-05.  He ranks 4th on the Cardinals all-time home run list with 241 and hit the game-ending home run in the 11th inning of the Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS.

Bob Forsch (#ForschHOF)

163-127, 3.67 ERA, 1079 K’s

Bob Forsch played 15 seasons with the Cardinals, making 401 starts, ranking 2nd all-time to franchise history.  He threw two no-hitters, coming in 1978 and again in 1983, becoming the only pitcher in Cardinals history to throw two.  He played in three World Series, winning in 1982, a year in which he threw a three-hit shutout in the Cardinals first ever NLCS game.  The two-time Silver Slugger Award winner won 163 games for the Cardinals, ranking third in franchise history.

Keith Hernandez (#HernandezHOF)

.299 AVG, 265 2B, 662 R

Keith Hernandez played 10 seasons with the Cardinals, winning six straight Gold Gloves from 1978-1983.  He was a co-MVP in 1979, batting a league leading .344 with 11 HR and 105 RBI.  The two-time All-Star was a member of the 1982 World Championship team.

Willie McGee (#McGeeHOF)

.294 AVG, 301 SB, 255 2B

Willie McGee played in 13 seasons with the Cardinals, playing in 1661 games, 9th all-time in franchise history.  He was a four-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves and was the 1985 National League MVP with league leading marks of a .353 batting average, 18 triples and 216 hits, while stealing 56 bases.  McGee played in three World Series, winning as a rookie in 1982 when he finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting.  Is one of six players to steal over 300 bases with the Cardinals, swiping 301.

Mark McGwire (#McGwireHOF)

220 HR, 473 RBIs, 1.111 OPS

Mark McGwire finished his career playing five seasons with the Cardinals.  In 1998, he broke the Major League Baseball single-season home run record of 61 set by Roger Maris with 70.  He blasted 220 career home runs with the Cardinals ranking 6th in franchise history, leading the National League in 1998 and 1999, the top two season totals in Cardinals history.  He set the Cardinals single season walk mark with 162 in 1998.  Had back-to-back seasons of 147 RBI, ranking tied for 3rd in Cardinals history.  He was a three-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger in 1998.

Matt Morris (#MorrisHOF)

101-62, 3.61 ERA, 986 K’s

Matt Morris pitched for the Cardinals from 1997-2005, finishing 3rd in the Rookie of the Year award in 1997 and was a two-time All-Star in 2001 and 2002.  He played in five postseasons and one World Series, in 2004.  He led the National League with 22 wins in 2001 and won 101 games over his career with the Cardinals.

Ted Simmons (#SimmonsHOF)

.298 AVG, 172 HR, 929 RBIs

Ted Simmons played 13 seasons with the Cardinals, making his Major League debut at 18-years old in 1968.  He was a six-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger in 1980.  In 1975, Simmons set the National League record for hits by a catcher with 188.  He posted six seasons of 20 or more home runs and 10 consecutive seasons from 1971-80 with 75 or more RBI.  His 172 HR rank 9th and 929 RBI are 7th all-time in Cardinals franchise history.

Joe Torre (#TorreHOF)

.308 AVG, 558 RBIs, 161 2B

Joe Torre played six seasons with the Cardinals at catcher, first base and third base from 1969-74.  He was a four-time All-Star and was named National League MVP in 1971, leading the league with a .363 batting average with 137 RBI and 230 hits, while hitting 24 home runs.  His 230 hits were the most since Stan Musial had 230 in 1948, the most by a Cardinal since World War II.  He posted a career batting average of .308, ranking 10th in Cardinals franchise history.

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34 Responses to “Reader poll – Which two should be Cardinals Hall of Famers?”

  1. blingboy says:

    Isn’t there a rule against posting a picture of a candidate within 3 inches of the polling place?

    • Brian Walton says:

      I would normally quote TLR and say they are all tied for first, but in this case, they are not. Besides, that is one of the coolest Simba photos I have seen. Since he was playing first base that day in 1972, we get to see that glorious mane!

    • crdswmn says:

      It’s called subliminal advertising. ;)

      • Brian Walton says:

        I readily admit that I am a Simmons backer but believe his candidacy may need a boost. I fear his relative age will not work in his favor in the voting.

        Having said that, I am surprised that Edmonds is not doing very well in the initial voting here. Then again, drawing any conclusions now would make about as much sense as overreacting over the first four spring training games. ;-)

        • crdswmn says:

          That is one of the reasons I don’t like fans voting for stuff. All you have to do is read my Twitter timeline on a daily basis to realize that some of them shouldn’t be allowed to vote for dog catcher.

          • Brian Walton says:

            I am waiting to see if they put any limits on the voting. I imagine they want participation and clicks, but if they allow 25 votes per day per email address, then this will be like the All-Star Game. On the other hand, this is a popularity contest in a way. One key difference, in my opinion, is that a Hall of Fame is much more enduring than an All-Star Game roster in any given year.

            The Reds, for example, started their team Hall of Fame voting back in 1958, well before Al Gore invented the internet. In their process, the fan vote is weighted one-third with views of selected media and former Reds players. I would have preferred that, but our job was simply to evaluate and nominate players, not debate the rules. (I did still express caution on the matter, though.)

            • blingboy says:

              Well, think of it this way Brian, fan voting has played no part in retiring numbers.

              • Brian Walton says:

                Fair point. There is no perfect selection process. As you probably know, I have long disagreed with some of the retired number choices, made both before and since current ownership took over. The good news is that by finally creating a Hall of Fame, decades overdue IMO, any pressure to prematurely retire numbers should be relieved.

  2. blingboy says:

    I voted for Simba because I got subliminized and Jimmy Baseball because his name was listed first. If my mother finds out I didn’t pick Willie I will not be her favorite anymore.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Believe it or not, having spent my life at the end of the alphabet, I considered running two separate questions with one vote each. In the second question, I would list the names in reverse alpha order. I guess running the Simmons photo sort of blew up that idea.

      P.S. You can still vote for Willie in the real vote. Better yet, get Mom to do it herself!

    • crdswmn says:

      I voted the same and will do so in the real vote. I love Willie, but it would be a crime for him to get in before Simba, and Edmonds was just a better player than Willie.

      • blingboy says:

        I agree that Jimmie was a better player, but I consider it a very close call. Moreso than most people. I give some weight to his longer tenure, as well as the importance of his place near the top of the batting order and the speed element he added at a time when it was integral to the Cards’ game. He was also a heck of a center fielder and all around spark plug.

        • Brian Walton says:

          A number of interrelated factors come into play. You did not say this, but if tenure was #1, then Forsch would be your man at 15 seasons.

          • blingboy says:

            I did give some thought to Forsch. A worthy candidate. I would not argue with anyone voting for him.

            • Brian Walton says:

              The first five years or so are going to be relatively easy as there is a backlog of very good candidates.

              • blingboy says:

                Looks like Bob is racking up a respectable tally.

                Thinking some about guys who won’t be candidates but who added an important element during their time (as well as considerable entertainment), I came up with Coleman, and McBride back in the 70s. A couple of fun players to watch. I was also thinking about Al Hrabosky’s 1975 season. He appeared in 65 games, all in relief, and won 13 and saved 22 with a 1.66 ERA. If Vern Rapp hadn’t been inflicted upon the team, Al would have hung around. I attended almost every home game back then, despite being a high school student.

  3. Nutlaw says:

    So I went with McGwire, as he was the most dominant player of the bunch during his tenure and was probably the only one amongst the bunch who was as much of a draw as the game itself. Everything else aside, amongst a list of very good players, he was great.

    McGee over Edmonds for nostalgia.

  4. Lou Schuler says:

    I went with McGee and Edmonds for the arbitrary reason that they both had MVP or MVP-type seasons on pennant-winning teams.

    Edmonds was worth 7.1 bWAR on the 2004 Cards, which, incredibly, was only the 3rd-best performance, behind Rolen and Pujols.

    McGee was worth 8.1 bWAR for the ’85 Cards (tied with John Tudor for the team lead), which was the most surprising and exciting team I’ve ever followed.

    That said, if I were voting on pure contributions to St. Louis baseball, I probably would’ve gone w. McGwire and Simmons. McGwire made St. Louis the epicenter of baseball, even on noncompetitive teams. And he was a great hitting coach for a WS-winning team. But it’s impossible to overlook the steroid issue. Simmons gets downgraded for being a lousy executive. As smart as he was, I don’t think he had a clue about player development.

    But they sure gave us some great memories, as did all the guys on the list.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Interesting approach. One thing I did not do is look at each candidate’s peak season on a systematic basis, as I think of this as a lifetime achievement award. Of course, championships are always important and career years on a title team would be especially worthy of note. I also did not extensively consider what guys did after their playing days.

  5. [...] After all, what really matters – fan voting – begins on Friday at cardinals.com/HOF. In the meantime, check out the results of our non-binding poll. [...]

  6. Bw52 says:

    Simba first.McGee 2nd barely over Edmonds my vote.

    • Brian Walton says:

      So far, a majority of the voters here seem to agree with you. I am still not sure if Simmons will fare as well when the fan vote opens up on cardinals.com.

      • crdswmn says:

        Since very few will actually bother to do any research, you are probably right.

        Willie McGee gets in over Edmonds because of popularity; Edmonds was a better player.

        • Bw52 says:

          Mcgee was a MVP.A 4 time Allstar 3 gold gloves. 300 stolen bases. 294 batting average .those are his Cardinal stats.

          Edmonds 3 atime All-star,6 gold gloves 241 HRs. .285 batting average.Cardinal stats
          Two totally different types of ballplayers……………Mcgee a speed slap guy and Edmonds Homerun guy.
          I would call them 2 and 2A.In my opinion McGee by a hair over JedmondsI liked both players and both where fun to watch.Many highlights with glove and bat.5that`s all the research I need.

          • crdswmn says:

            Jim Edmonds career WAR for 17 seasons—64.2

            Willie McGee career WAR for 17 seasons—27.6

            Edmonds had more power and was head and shoulders a better defensive player. All Star games and GG don’t mean much to me. Those things are too subjective. Edmonds was better both offensively and defensively according to objective measurable numbers.

            It’s not that close.

            • Bw52 says:

              WAR doesn`t mean much to me.Your objective metric numbers don`t mean anything to me.I like both players and MY OPINION is Willie by a hair over Jedmonds.Different styles different eras of Cardinal baseball.Willie was a sppped ap guy while Jimmy was a middleorder masher.Both very good Cardinals.Thanks for your input but I ain`t changing my mind.

              • crdswmn says:

                I never had any illusions of changing your mind. But I am going to make my case, if for nothing else to show anyone who might be reading this the difference between the two players. One is a borderline HOFer and the other one is not.

                These vote things are a popularity contest, I get that.

                • Bw52 says:

                  McGee came along in the Whiteyball era and he was a great fit for those punchless teams ( except Jack Clark and Brunansky later the Cards had no power bat.Willie just fit that time.Edmonds fit his Cardinal era with Albert.Both where good Cardinals.Like I said 2 and 2A.

  7. [...] I readily admit that my analysis and discussion among the Red Ribbon Committee members led me to favor two over the others. Based on interim voting results announced by the Cardinals, however, my favored [...]

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