Two forgotten names to consider for St. Louis Cardinals HOF in 2022

ST. LOUIS, MO - CIRCA 1984: George Hendrick #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals swings and watches the flight of his ball during an Major League Baseball game circa 1984 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. Hendrick played for the Cardinals from 1978-84. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - CIRCA 1984: George Hendrick #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals swings and watches the flight of his ball during an Major League Baseball game circa 1984 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. Hendrick played for the Cardinals from 1978-84. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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On May 5th, it was announced Keith Hernandez had been voted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame for 2021. Now looking forward to 2022, I have two names to be considered for the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

On August 21st, the St. Louis Cardinals will honor their newest inductees into the team Hall of Fame. 2021 inductee, Keith Hernandez, will join the 2020 class of Tom Herr, John Tudor, and Bill White as the newest members to be enshrined into the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Hernandez, who won six Gold Gloves, an NL Batting Title, and an NL MVP award, received the most votes over a group of former Cardinals that included Steve Carlton, Lee Smith, Edgar Renteria, and Matt Morris. Likely, we will see Carlton, Smith, Renteria, and Morris on next year’s ballot.

But who else should be on the ballot next year?

I propose two names of former Cardinals we haven’t yet seen on a Hall of Fame ballot. In fact, considering some of the names already in the Cardinals Hall of Fame, you may wonder why these two have never made the ballot.

George Hendrick

George Hendrick is one of the players from the 1980s that seems to have been forgotten when we talk about the Whitey Herzog era in Cardinal baseball. Hendrick didn’t talk to the media, which earned him the nickname of ‘Silent George,’ but nevertheless, his impact on the teams he played on was invaluable.

Hendrick arrived in St. Louis via trade on May 28th in 1978 for pitcher Eric Rasmussen. For the next seven years, Hendrick became a steady and consistent force in the middle of the Cardinals lineup, while playing center field, first base, but primarily right field.

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During those seven years of wearing the Birds on the Bat, he hit a slash line of .294/.345/.470 with an OPS+ of 125, earned two Silver Slugger Awards, and made two All-Star appearances. The California native hit over .300 three times and never less than .277 during his tenure in St. Louis. Additionally, he led the league in sacrificed flies in 1982 (14) and assists in the outfield in 1979 (20).

Hendrick’s best year in St. Louis was in 1980 when he hit a slash line of .302/.342/.490, with an OPS+ of 129. He also had slugged 25 homers and a career-best 109 RBI.

However, it was during the Cardinals World Series run in 1982 when Hendrick’s right-handed bat made its most important impact. In 136 games, the 6’3″ outfielder hit a slash line of .282/.323/.459, an OPS+ of 114 with 19 homers and 104 RBI.

During the 1982 NLCS  three games against the Atlanta Braves, Silent George hit .308 with 2 RBI. Against the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1982 World Series, he had a .321 batting average with 5 RBI.

Ironically, George Hendrick was traded in December of 1984 to the Pittsburgh Pirates, for… John Tudor.

Joaquin Andujar

It’s hard to figure how a pitcher, who twice won 20 games or more while in a Cardinal uniform, has never been mentioned for the Cardinals Hall of Fame. Like George Hendrick, it seems Joaquin Andujar has been one of those forgotten stars from the 80s.

Let’s look at Andujar’s career while in St. Louis. He won 20 games in 1984, leading the NL in wins, shutouts (4), and innings pitched (261.1). He also won a Gold Glove and earned an All-Star appearance. He followed up 1984, by winning 21 games in 1985. and making another All-Star appearance. Additionally, he maintained a 3.33 ERA during his five years in St. Louis.

Like George Hendrick, 1982 could’ve been the year Andujar made his biggest impact for the St. Louis Cardinals. Although he only had a 15-10 record, he led the rotation in ERA (2.47), innings pitched (265.2), and strikeouts (137). For the analytics geeks, he also had the fewest walks per nine (1.7), and fewest home runs per nine (0.4) as well.

During the 1982 postseason, he won all three of his starts and went 2-0 in the World Series vs the Brewers with a 1.35 ERA.

Unfortunately, Joaquin Andujar’s career ended on a rather sour and ugly note in St. Louis. During Game 7 of the 1985 World Series vs the Kansas City Royals, and the  Cardinals trailing 10-0, Andujar was put in the game for mop-up duty. Andujar proceeded to have a public meltdown by arguing and bumping umpire Don Denkinger over his calls of balls and strikes. Andujar had to be restrained by teammates and was ejected from the game.

After his exit, Andujar demolished a toilet and sink in the Royals’ visitor locker room. Eventually, he was fined $500, ordered to pay restitution to the Royals for damage, and suspended the first 10 games of the 1986 season.

During the 1985 offseason, Joaquin Andujar was traded to the Oakland A’s.

Finally…

I am rather surprised these two former standouts have never yet made the ballot for the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. I believe they certainly have the credentials.

With George Hendrick, it could be that it was his personal policy of not talking on the record with the media. Publicly, at least, he was a quiet guy. Also, I feel like most players do campaign, so to speak, to get on the ballot. Knowing what I’ve heard about Hendrick, I can’t see him doing that.

Joaquin Andujar is another story. The 1985 World Series meltdown may still resonate in people’s minds. It’s too bad that the last memory Cardinal fans have of Andujar is of Game 7 of the World Series in 1985. Unfortunately, Joaquin Andujar passed in 2015 from complications of diabetes.

Next. Tommy Edman, a true St. Louis Cardinals throwback. dark

Nevertheless, in my opinion, George Hendrick and Joaquin Andujar should be on the Cardinals Hall of Fame ballot. They were both made significant contributors while wearing a Cardinal uniform. In the end, why not let the fans decide.

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