St. Louis Cardinals: Former Players On The 2017 Hall Of Fame Ballot
By Trevor Hooth
The St. Louis Cardinals have one of the most storied franchises in the history of sports having achieved eleven World Series victories and a name that is all but synonymous with the playoffs. In addition, the Cardinals have seventeen Hall of Fame inductees which is the third most of all time.
There have been many players inducted to the Hall that have worn a St. Louis Cardinals uniform at one time or another. People like Dennis Eckersley, Orlando Cepeda, and Cy Young all played for the St. Louis Cardinals for a year or two during their illustrious careers.
To be in the seventeen inducted hall of fame players in this list, though, the player or manager must be a St. Louis Cardinal at heart, and have multiple seasons in the uniform. Moreover, they need to be inducted as a Cardinal: players like Stan Musial, Lou Brock, and Bob Gibson, or managers like Whitey Herzog and Tony LaRussa.
With the 2017 ballot looming for the Baseball Writers, there are certainly several names to consider. In total there are thirty-four players upon which to be voted: nineteen new players and fifteen returners.
Jeff Bagwell, Trevor Hoffman, and Tim Raines are the headlining names of the returning potentials. Raines is the one of two players in his final year of the ballot. These three, along with the two members of the 2016 class, received at least 67.3 percent of the vote last year. That number is significant because only one player in history, Jack Morris, has reached that magic number without an eventual induction.
Players eligible for the first time are headlined by Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Vladmir Guerrero. Quite a class. Ramirez is in the 500 home run club, Rodriguez has nearly 3,000 hits, and Guerrero is perhaps the best bad-ball hitter of all time. And let’s not forget Vlad’s 449 homers.
The 2016 inducted class featured only two names: Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. Those two were polar opposites at the start of their careers. Griffey was a top draft pick poised for stardom, while Piazza was selected as the 1,390th overall player in the 1988 amateur draft.
Being in the Hall Of Fame is the highest honor for a player, manager, executive, umpire, or broadcaster. To get in on the first try is even better. The last year a player got in on his first try was 2014 when there were three of them– Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Frank Robinson. In total there are 47 first-ballot inductees. These include St. Louis Cardinals greats Musial, Gibson, Brock, and Ozzie Smith.
Rules on getting a plaque in Cooperstown have changed recently. Before 2014, a player had fifteen years to be inducted. Players like Jim Rice, who got in on year-15 back in 2009 loved this rule. Now, a player has only ten years, so Raines could be out of luck if he doesn’t get in this year.
To be an eligible candidate for the Hall of Fame, a player must have been active at least fifteen years, and retired five years before election. The player must also have ten active seasons in the Major Leagues.
After that time period, the Baseball Writers get to work. This starts with a Screening Committee of six members who prepare the ballot. To be on the ballot a player must have received at least five percent of the vote on a previous ballot, or be eligible for the first year and collect nominations from two members of the six-member committee.
A writer chosen as an elector can vote for no more than ten players, with no write-ins allowed. Finally, when all the smoke clears, if a player on the ballot has seventy-five percent or more of votes, he will be forever immortalized with a plaque in Cooperstown.
The 2017 class ballot has already been announced and there are five players who have ever worn a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. These include three who wore it for a significant amount of time, and two who were there only couple years.