2016 Hall of Fame Voting Provides Mixed Results for Former St. Louis Cardinals


The 2016 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame  proved difficult for several former St. Louis Cardinals’ ballot members to climb the ladder or remain eligible for future voting.

These trends particularly applied for the St. Louis Cardinals, who finished without a Hall of Fame inductee for the tenth consecutive year. Eight former Cardinals met requirements to press their luck in this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, including three returners and five first-timers.

Lee Smith may have made the most noticeable impression in his fourteenth attempt, earning selection in 34.1% of votes as opposed to 30.2% a year ago. Although Smith’s 478 saves rank third in Major League history, he was challenged with the additions of Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman, who also place within the Top 5 in career saves. Smith remains eligible for one more year of Hall of Fame balloting.

Former single-season home run champion Mark McGwire did not receive enough support to remain in future ballots due to a new change that took effect in 2014. This policy reduced the ballot limit to 10 years for candidates above the threshold, which applies to McGwire after receiving 12.3% of votes. Despite finishing his career with 583 home runs, McGwire’s steroid usage as a player likely stood as a tough obstacle to set aside in any case for Cooperstown.

Larry Walker noticed slight improvement from last year’s ballot after being named in 15.5% of votes. Spending parts of his last two seasons with the Cardinals, Walker’s 1997 MVP award and three years of postseason experience may not be enough to capture attention of voters with a new pool of outfielders coming in each year.

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Perhaps the most shocking news comes on behalf of eight-time gold glove winner Jim Edmonds, who will be dropped off of future ballots after receiving praise in just 2.5% of ballots.

Edmonds demonstrated one of the most balanced sets of skills in his era by finishing with an aggregate 37.3 WAR in St. Louis, but the Rule of 10 members per ballot made it tough for the 2006 World Series Champion to garner Hall of Fame recognition.

Troy Glaus, David Eckstein, Mark Grudzielanek and Randy Winn were also eligible for voting this year, but all four will also be removed from future ballots for failing to receive 5% of votes. All of these players wore a Cardinals uniform between 2005-2010, but Eckstein was the only player on this crop to receive multiple votes.

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The 2017 Hall of Fame ballot could once again bring some intriguing possibilities for the Cardinals. Smith, McGwire and Walker will all have another chance to muster up some votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, joined by upcoming first-timers J.D. Drew, Edgar Renteria and Fernando Tatis.