Today, Cardinals ownership topped the bill at the annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm Up, by officially announcing the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, which will be a part of the soon-to-debut Ballpark Village construct. While the existence of the Hall of Fame has long been a known quantity to the BPV experience, until today the exact features, location and inductees where not known.
At noon today, flanked by former manager Tony La Russa and hords of gathered media, the duo of DeWitts, team chairman William Jr and team president Bill III, clarified the entire situation, announcing not only the Hall of Fame’s structure, but the inaugural induction class, the voting process and the structure of the experience within Ballpark Village. It was made clear that Hall of Fame, made possible through a co-op with Edward Jones, would have an inaugural class of 22 members, a mixture of currently retired numbers and dignitaries, honored within Busch Stadium Cardinal past and other inductees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
The initial class was determined by a mixture of voters from the long-standing team media, Hall of Fame members and varied baseball association, noted as the Red Ribbon Committee. This group decided upon the deserving honorees as well as the rubric for future inductees to come.
The initial 22 Cardinal class will be compromised of Jim Bottomley, Ken Boyer, Lou Brock, Gussie Busch, Jack Buck, Dizzy Dean, Frankie Frisch, Bob Gibson, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines, Whitey Herzog, Rogers Hornsby, Tony La Russa, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Branch Rickey, Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter, Ozzie Smith, Billy Southworth and Bruce Sutter.
The curriculum for the forthcoming Hall of Fame is a unique interaction between expert analysis and fan interation. DeWitt III expounded, “When a new class is inducted any given year, there are two cases in the gallery that will showcase the memorabilia of the new inductees.” To be eligible a player must have played a minimum of three years for the Cardinals and have been retired for three years. There will be two categories that the Hall is based on, a veterans committee of players that competed more than 40 years ago and a modern class of Cardinals since then.
The Red Ribbon Committee will nominate a ballot of 6-10 modern players from a group of 25, and then elect one member from the veterans group themselves, largely to preserve the integrity of the Hall. At that point, the fans will become involved. Starting March 1st, at Cardinals.com, there will be an open for vote two members from the modern ballot. A fourth member can be elected in any given year, if cho0sen, as a deserving coach, executive or prominent off field contributor.
At that point, then the team will continue forward with the pageantry of the event. The full class will be announced in late April, and plaques will mark inductees into the Hall. The inaugural induction class will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 16 in a weekend celebration at Ballpark Village and Busch Stadium.
The Hall exhibit and plaques will remain a free display outside of the Cardinal Museum, while there will be an entry fee to the full museum, with relics and memboribila from both the Cardinal Hall of Famers and great moments of the franchise’s extensive history. Many of these items have come directly from the current and former Cardinals themselves, holdovers from the former Cardinal Museum located with the Bowling Hall of Fame, private auctions and even the Baseball Hall of Fame itself.
The forward aimed goal of Ballpark Village is to bring an expansive element to the Cardinal experience, and round out both game days and the downtown experience, overall. Yet in their usual habit, the Cardinals will move forward with a conscious grasp on the past. The Cardinal Hall of Fame looks be a fair balance between both, and will make sure that the past is both present and represented in the years to come.