As a member of the United Cardinals Bloggers, we are regularly given assignments to write about, with the results posted on Unitedcardinalsbloggers.com. This month we were asked to put together our ballot of the 5 players we would like to see voted in as part of the inaugural class for the Cardinals Hall of Fame.
There were a few rules for this assignment: (1) Assume that everyone that has a retired number/logo on the wall is already in the HOF. I took this a step further and assumed that any former Cardinal who was in the MLB Hall of Fame would automatically be in the Cardinals Hall of Fame, (2) The player must be retired or you have the reasonable expectation he's retired. So, Albert Pujols is not currently eligible, and (3) There's no limitation on service time. Despite this, I wanted my selections to have spent the majority of their playing days with the Cardinals.
In making my selections, I wanted to pick the best players that have ever played for the Cardinals, but may have been forgotten or overlooked by the MLB HOF, as well as some personal favorites of mine.
So, without further ado, here are my selections for the Cardinals Hall of Fame:
Simba has the highest WAR of any Cardinals player not in the MLB HOF. His career WAR of 44.9 is 7th on the Cards all-time list, behind Enos Slaughter.
During his Cardinals career, the switch-hitting catcher hit .298/.366/.459 with an OPS of .824 and an OPS+ of 127. His 172 home runs rank 9th on the Cards all-time list and he is also among the team leaders with 929 RBI's (7th) and 2,626 total bases (9th).
He was a 6-time All Star with the team and won the Silver Slugger award in 1980, when he hit .303/.375/.505 with 21 home runs and 98 RBI's.
Breechen is the best Cardinals pitcher not in the MLB HOF. His 38.6 WAR is behind only Bob Gibson (a whopping 81.9) on the Cards all-time list.
Brecheen was a stalwart of the Cardinals pitching staff during the 1940's and helped lead the team to 2 World Series titles and 3 appearances in a 4-year span from 1943-1946. He is ranked 7th on the Cardinals all-time list with 128 wins, 8th in innings with 1,790.1, 6th in games started (224) and 4th in shutouts (25).
He was a two-time All Star and finished his Cardinals career with a 2.91 ERA (133 ERA+).
One of my personal favorites, Bob Forsch was not a flashy pitcher. He didn't strike many hitters out, was rarely among the league leaders in ERA or wins, but he knew how to make the most of what God gave him and that he lasted 16 years in the big leagues is a testament to that.
Forsch ranks 3rd on the Cardinals all-time leaders list with 163 wins, behind only Hall of Famers Bob Gibson (251) and Jesse Haines (210). He is also 3rd in innings (2,658.2), 4th in strikeouts (1,079), 2nd in games started (401) and 9th in shutouts (19). He is also the only Cardinal to have pitched two no-hitters.
He was never an all-star, but, known as a good hitting pitcher, he won two Silver Slugger awards (he hit .215 with 12 home runs as a Cardinal). He was also a big part of the Cards teams of the 1980's that went to 3 World Series, winning it all in 1982.
Curt Flood was one of the more underrated players in history. In his Cardinals career, he posted a 42.2 WAR, good for 8th on the Cardinals all-time list and was considered one of the best defensive center fielders of his time.
However, his play on the field is often overshadowed by what he did off the field. He is probably best remember as the guy who challenged baseball's reserve clause. Although he lost his case, it eventually led to the 10/5 rule (sometimes called the "Curt Flood rule"), which allows players with 10 years of experience and 5 years with the same team to veto any trade. Also, his challenge of the reserve clause helped lay the ground work for free agency.
Willie McGee is another personal favorite of mine and I'm sure of many Cardinals fans from the '80's. One of the Cards speedsters, McGee still ranks 6th on the all-time list for steals as a Cardinal with 301. He also ranks 10th in at bats (5,734), 9th in games (1,661) and 7th in triples (83).
During his Cardinals career, McGee hit .294/.329/.400. He was a 4-time All Star and won 3 Gold Gloves. His greatest year came in 1985 when he hit .353/.384/.503 with 216 hits, 56 stolen bases and 114 runs scored, which earned him the MVP award.
So, there you have it, my selections for the inaugural class for the Cardinals Hall of Fame.
Do you agree with my picks? Did I miss anyone? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.