The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame finally gets it right

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 4: St. Louis Cardinals Keith Hernandez
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 4: St. Louis Cardinals Keith Hernandez /

The St. Louis Cardinals inducted four new members into their Hall of Fame this weekend. In my opinion, they finally got it right with the long overdue induction of Bill White and Keith Hernandez.

The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame inducted Bill White, Keith Hernandez, Tommy Herr, and John Tudor this weekend. Herr and Tudor are deserving, but White and Hernandez were long overdue.

After several years being on the Hall of Fame ballot, Hernandez was finally voted in by the fans for the 2021 class. White, on the other hand, was selected for the 2020 class by the Red Ribbon panel as a veteran player. A veteran player is classified as a player who has been retired for over 40 years, thus the panel can select a player for the Hall of Fame by secret ballot.

Why are White and Hernandez long overdue?

Just take a close look at their careers with the Cardinals. It makes you wonder why it took so long to induct both of these two into the teams Hall of Fame.

Bill White

White seems to be the forgotten Cardinal of the 1960s. His name has been overshadowed by other names of the era, which included Musial, Gibson, Brock, Flood, Cepeda, Carlton, and McCarver.

The Ohio native was acquired by trade from the Giants in 1959. From 1959 to 1965, the left-handed first baseman would be a regular in the Cardinals starting lineup, earning earning six Gold Gloves and making five All Star appearances.

White was also a workhorse during his years in St. Louis. He played over 150 games or more four years in a row, and never played less than 138 games. In 1963, he led the NL in games played(162) and plate appearances(726).

Additionally, White was a member of the 1964 World Series Champs who beat the New York Yankees in seven games. During that Championship season, the 6-0, 185lb White, hit a slash line of .303/.355/.474 with a 123 OPS+ and had 21 HR and 102 RBI.

White had three straight years with 100 RBI or more and five straight years with 20 home runs or more. He had an eight-year slashline in St. Louis of .298/.357/.472 with a 119 OPS+.

After leaving the Cardinals in 1966 for Philadelphia, he returned to St. Louis in 1969 to finish his career.

Keith Hernandez

I have been a long time advocate of putting Keith Hernandez into the Cardinals Hall of Fame. His six Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger Award, two All-Star appearances, NL MVP award and NL batting title would seem to have been enough put him in the Cardinal HOF some time ago.

To add on, he was an essential member of the 1982 World Championship team. During the 1982 season, Hernandez, hit a slashline of .299/.397/.413 with a 127 OPS+ and had 94 RBI. Finally, during the 1982 World Series vs the Milwaukee Brewers, he had eight RBI during that seven game series.

Hernandez started his career in the Cardinals organization by being the last player taken and signed in the 1971 draft to play in the Major Leagues. During his 10-year major league career in St. Louis, Hernandez had a slash line of .299/.385/.448 with a 130 OPS+.

However, unlike Bill White, Hernandez hasn’t been forgotten by Cardinal fans, just not forgiven by many. This is due primarily to his messy and complicated exit from St. Louis in 1983 over his then rumored(later proven true) drug use.

Additionally, many fans only remember him a member of the then hated New York Mets during the mid to late 80s. Of course, there is the famous ‘Seinfeld’ episode which has helped solidify his identification of as a New York Met instead of a Cardinal.

Nevertheless, many hatchets have been buried when it comes to Keith Hernandez, especially with Whitey Herzog.

Keith Hernandez is now an television analyst for the New York Mets.

To wrap up..

I watched parts of all the speeches on the Cardinals pregame show during Saturday’s broadcast. All were heartfelt and genuine. Hernandez thanked the fans for showing patience with him during his early career, something he said couldn’t have been expected in New York.

It’s too bad White couldn’t be at the ceremonies this weekend. Nevertheless, he can finally and rightfully join his former teammates Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Mike Shannon, Curt Flood, Ken Boyer, and Tim McCarver as members of the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

One had been forgotten and the other unforgiven. But now the circle has been completed for both of these long deserving players.

The Hall of Fame ceremony has always been a special moment for the players who have been inducted and the fans who cheered for them in the past. We need weekends like this to remind us why we are fans of the St. Louis Cardinals.