A new look at David Freese and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame

Some time has passed on David Freese's decision to decline his Cardinals' Hall of Fame induction, so we talked to those involved with the process to better understand why
2011 World Series Game 6 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals
2011 World Series Game 6 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals / Rob Carr/GettyImages
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How does someone get into the Cardinals Hall of Fame?

The first thing to know was just how someone gets elected to the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.

The MLB Hall of Fame has a long service time requirement and they also state: “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” Simply put, you have to play for a long time and you have to be the best of the best during that time.

This is very different from what the St. Louis Cardinals HOF has as their stated requirements.

Checking the Cardinals HOF website, they list these as their requirements for ‘Modern Players” that the fans get to vote on:

“To be eligible, nominees must have played for the Cardinals for at least three seasons and be retired as a player from Major League Baseball for at least three years.”

This seemed very vague to me. Nothing about stats or ability. Surely, there must be more than just playing for the Cardinals for three years to get into the Hall of Fame.

I went to the Hall of Fame to get more answers.

First, I want to say that if you are a Cardinals fan and haven’t visited the HOF then shame on you. I have been to the MLB, NBA, college football, and the Country Music Halls of Fame and can tell you that this HOF doesn’t have to take a back seat to any of them. This museum is filled with so much history and presented so well, that even a Cubs fan would love it. A big shout out to the staff also. They were very professional, helpful, and so friendly that St. Louis should be very proud.

That said, I still came away unenlightened. The only additional information I gathered was from the brochure I picked up that stated the HOF was created to “honor the players and personalities who have had the greatest impact on the franchise.” So, 3 years and have an impact on the franchise. Got it.

I then contacted Brittany Schelp the Manager of the Museum and Tour Operations for the St. Louis Cardinals. Going back and forth with her I realized that the amazing staff at the museum was a reflection of her. She was a big help.

She confirmed that I had the three years part right and then told me this:

“A committee meets to discuss candidates. The organization puts together a stat sheet for review of eligible players and the committee discusses qualifications, stats, their knowledge of the players and any other items they think are important to consider and then votes via secret ballot. Committee members can go into detail and present a case for any players they feel passionately about for consideration.”

“Each year 1 or 2 “modern” players are elected by the fan vote from the ballot that the committee puts together via their confidential vote after discussion. 1 “veteran” player is elected each year by the committee’s vote. Sometimes the organization may opt to induct an individual who was an important figure in Cardinals history such as a coach, broadcaster or member of the front office.”

The members of this year’s committee can be found here.

So finally, I have a better understanding of the “how”. It is a combination of stats and probably just as important if not more, “impact on the franchise”, as determined by a committee.