Tag Archive | "Hall Of Fame"

Legend of the Fall: Beltran Continues His Quest

The heroics of Carlos Beltran in the month of October are nothing new. He ranks in the top 10 nearly every major postseason category that an individual can find himself in. However, in last night’s game one of the National League Championship Series, he had his signature effort as a Cardinal during the season’s final month. In the process he single-handedly carried the team to series-opening victory, as well as continued to make an increasingly convincing case for how his legacy will be rewarded.

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Beltran took the world on his shoulders, as his two-run third inning double started the offense, and remained the entire output until his RBI single ten innings later earned a grueling win to a grueling start to the NLCS. In a matchup that saw just three lead changes scattered across 13 pitchers for both sides, it was the two defining hits by Beltran that made the complete difference in the Cardinals 3-2 victory.

Yet, the moment of the game came in the top of the tenth inning, when Beltran showcased why the team leans on him so heavily at this point. After Jon Jay misplayed a Mark Ellis line drive into the right center field gap, which resulted in a one out triple, the club found itself in about as big of a bind as possible. After intentionally walking Hanley Ramirez to reach Michael Young with a double play situation in play, Trevor Rosenthal found himself in a do or die scenario.

Young did exactly what he has supposed to do, which was put the ball in the air to the outfield. The ball he hit would have been Jay’s to take in any other scenario, but this was far from that; it was the game on the line. With this crossroads clear and evident, Beltran moved over from right to overrule his outfield mate, and uncorked the type of throw which helped make him a Gold Glove center fielder three times over, cutting down Ellis at home plate and giving the Cardinals another life.

Helping to make good on a dominant, seven scoreless inning collaboration from the Cardinal bullpen, poetically, the game came back around to Beltran came back to the plate again in the thirteenth inning and capped his legend securing evening. With two on and one out in the 13th, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly finally unleashed his closer Kenly Jansen, owner of one of the most dominant fastballs in the game. But Beltran worked the count in his favor so he could face that pitch on his terms, which resulted in him lining a base hit in right field, which brought in Daniel Descalso (who had a clutch flare hit to start the inning) and closed out a hard-fought win to start the series.

For Beltran, his reputation simply grows at the highest peak of the season again. It has been nine years since his record-setting eight home run October debut with the Houston Astros. In the time since, he has grown his career, seemingly lost his peak to injury and then rebuilt it in a new role. All along, he’s become a new player in the season’s final month, the type of postseason legend that is rightfully mentioned along the lines of Jeter, Jackson and Ruth.

There are a few things each name in that group has in common, and it is that their efforts evenly resulted in a World Series victory. Despite reaching the NLCS four times and reaching the seventh game of each appearance, he has yet to be able to breakthrough to game’s final level. The debate continues on whether Beltran is a Hall of Fame-caliber player, but one thing that is a consensus is that the conversation starts, and finishes, with the efforts he turns in during this point in the season. And when it comes time for that discussion to ultimately be decided on, the game he began this season’s NLCS with will be remembered as a strong indicator of just how exceptional he truly has been. But where the season ends, and how much further he can fuel this particular Cardinal team, could ultimately be the decider.

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Sandberg finally gets the call

Over the weekend the Philadelphia Phillies parted ways with long time manager Charlie Manuel. Longtime Chicago Cub fan favorite Ryne Sandberg was named as the interim manager of the Fighting Phils. After years in the minors, as well as third base coach for the Phillies, Sandberg will finally get his chance to audition for a managerial chair in the big leagues.

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Ryno was originally drafted by the Phillies and later traded to the Cubs where he made a name for himself and built a Hall of Fame resume. Sandberg became a perennial All-Star, Gold Glove winner, and MVP for the Chicago Cubs. He is arguably the best second baseman in history at his position, and in 2005 was inducted into the Hall of Fame with one of the best speeches in recent memory.

After his playing career, Sandberg ventured into the managerial ranks and became the manager of the Cubs Class-A Peoria Chiefs in 2006. Around Chicago, it was a not so secret rumor that Ryne was grooming himself to one day lead the Cubs at the corner of Clark and Addison.

In his first season as manager, he took the Chiefs to the Midwest League Championship Game. After two seasons, he was promoted to Class Double-A Tennessee and the following year was promoted again to Class Triple-A Iowa. In 2010, he was named Manager of the Year in the Pacific Coast League and in turn making the rumor mill grow louder on the North Side.

Following the 2010 season, Sandberg was a strong candidate to replace Lou Piniella as Cubs manager. It was viewed as Ryno’s job to lose and it would create a perfect storm for fans to have a manger they would adore and love, even if the team’s record was subpar. Eventually the job was given to Mike Quade, a not so popular choice.

After the decision, Sandberg headed back to the minors to manage another season, only this time it was for the Phillies top affiliate. Once again, Sandberg turned out another winner, leading the squad to their first ever playoff appearance, the International League Championship series, and being named 2011 Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America.

During the 2011 off-season, the Cubs again had another vacancy at the manager position. Sandberg’s name resurfaced again but not quite with the same buzz. The job was eventually given to current skipper Dale Sveum. Sandberg stayed in the Phillies organization and was named third base coach for the big league team.

Ryne held that position until this weekend where he now was named interim manager of the club. However, he did receive a not so good welcome has his first games were against the hottest team in the league, the LA Dodgers and ace pitchers Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. It took the Phillies three games before they could score a run for their new manager.

It will be interesting to see how Sandberg fairs for the remainder of the season and what his fate will be during the off-season. Will he be granted the full time role by the Phillies, or will another team try to snag him away? One thing is for certain, Sandberg has the pedigree, and he has developed a style that wins. His resume boasts that greatly.

As for Chicago Cub purists, how do they feel? The general consensus is that Sandberg fans are happy that Ryno finally got his shot, although it is not wearing Cubbie blue. Sandberg #23 jerseys and t-shirts are still widely popular at the friendly confines. Sandberg’s jersey is retired by the Cubs and if you are curious to see what a true reaction will be of Cub fans, the Phillies come into town for a weekend series August 30-September 1.

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Flopps: The 8 Bit Baseball Card

I am a sucker for this stuff, I admit.

Flopps

Craig Robinson is the author behind one of the best infographic style books I have ever read, Flip Flop Fly Ball.  Where the book left off, the website took over.

Craig continues his great work over at his site keeping track of what hat he wears everyday and all kinds of graphically represented statistical anomalies.  We’ve featured some of that work here on i70 before, bring you galleries of his Lego Baseball Players and his infographic on Albert Pujols.  Just last week we brought you other 8-bit baseball players from another site.

Today we bring you a sampling of Craig’s newest creation, Flopps.  The Flip Flop Fly Ball baseball cards dedicated to all things baseball.  Browse the images in the slideshow below and then head on over to the site to see the entire collection.  (Don’t miss the Steve Bartman card below)

Use the “next” and “previous” buttons below the slides to browse through all the images.

Albert Pujols

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Albert Pujols is one of the greatest hitters in recent memory. Perhaps he will forever be remembered as he is depicted here, in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform.

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Yahoo: The Best Athletes In St. Louis History

I recently wrote a piece for Yahoo Sports naming my choices for the “10 Greatest Athletes In St. Louis Sports History“.  As with any list of that nature, it can seem incomplete and open to a lot of debate among fans.

It is also safe to note that the editorial process on an article of that nature is long and many concessions are made.  The list starts off very large and various athletes are cast aside for various reasons.  Some the writer agrees with, some the editor asks for, but ultimately a list is published that both can settle on.

The beauty for me, as a writer, is that I can expand that list by bringing some of the names from the cutting room floor to i70baseball.  Be sure to click the link above and check out the initial list, as well as voting for the person you determine to be the best, and then come back here to read about a few more.  The selections below are listed in alphabetical order.

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Isaac Bruce/Tory Holt

The “Greatest Show On Turf” doesn’t happen just because of a good quarterback and a running back that redefines the game.  It took two special wide receivers that were capable of changing the game in multiple ways.  Holt and Bruce, two receivers that were sure-handed and down-field threats at the same time.  St. Louis learned what Yards After Catch meant thanks to the dynamic duo of the St. Louis Rams.

Daryl Doran

You cannot talk about St. Louis soccer without talking about Daryl Doran.  Doran has played for every professional soccer team to ever be formed in the St. Louis area and has been instrumental in a few of those franchises coming to St. Louis in the first place.  He is a two time All Star as well as a winner of Defender of the Year and All Star Game MVP.  He was also honored as the coach of the year one time.

Rogers Hornsby

The Hall of Fame second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals boasts a lifetime batting average of .358 and three times hit over .400 in a single season.  He remains the last National League player to achieve a batting average over .400 in a single season.  He won the batting title for his league seven times, was named the league Most Valuable Player twice, in runs batted in four times, and in home runs twice.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

While the list was mutually agreed upon, this was the one omission that I hated to let go.  Jackie Joyner-Kersee is one of the greatest athletes, male or female, to ever grace the field of competition anywhere.  Honored by Sports Illustrated as “The Greatest Female Athlete Of The 20th Century”, Kersee set and holds many Olympic records.  She brought a new level of excitement to USA Track & Field and continues to be an active member of the community in the St. Louis area.

Bob Pettit

In 1954, Bob Pettit took the floor as a member of the Milwaukee Hawks of the National Basketball Association and ended the season as the Rookie of the Year.  The following season, the Hawks moved to St. Louis and Pettit continued to develop into one of the greatest basketball players of all time.  He was the first ever Most Valuable Player award winner and a four-time winner of the same award for the All Star Game.  Pettit’s career led him to induction in the basketball Hall of Fame.

Harley Race

Not sure who Harley Race is?  That’s because he is a professional wrestler from the St. Louis area that has helped numerous promotions continue to provide quality wrestling events to the St. Louis area for many years.  Many consider him the greatest wrestler of all time and he was successful in capturing the world heavyweight championship on eight separate occasions.  Pro wrestling is certainly fake and Harley helped expose just that with a 1999 NBC Special called “Exposed: Pro Wrestling’s Greatest Secrets”.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can talk baseball with him on Twitter or read more of his St. Louis Cardinals analysis on Yahoo!.

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Trade Deadline

This is the time of year when we find out who the contenders and pretenders are. Does your team sell for prospects for next year? Or do they buy a player with pending free agency to be a hired gun for the last part of the season? In this fan’s case, the Tigers need to pick up an experienced closing pitcher.  As the season winds down, teams make roster moves to squeak out a few more wins. Or in some cases pick up an available player so a rival does not. If nothing else, trading players is the professional version of what many of us do everyday in trading cards.

Spokes

In 1974 Topps introduced the first “Traded” cards. These cards highlighted players who switched teams throughout the season and pictured the player in the new team’s uniform. The cards were inserted in packs of both low and high series base cards. The cards had bold, block letters across the card front that read ‘TRADED.” Even though they were produced later in the year, these cards were produced in the same quantity as the regular base cards and are not considered any harder to obtain.

In 1981 Topps, and other card companies started making stand alone ‘traded’ sets. These sets varied in size, but the cards themselves could look very much like the regular base set card designs. Often the only thing to differentiate a base card from a ‘traded’ card would be a different picture and the numbering on the back. Each company had their own ‘traded’ set. There was Topps Traded, Fleer Update and Donruss “The Rookies.’ These sets not only included players who changed teams during the season, but also in-season call-ups of rookies. Companies would often race each other to produce the first card of a player who changed teams or the first true rookie card (RC) of a promising call-up.

Some of the more famous and valuable of these early traded/RC cards are of Hall of Fame quality players. 1982 Topps gave us the first RC card Cal Ripken Jr. 1984 Fleer Update is still a popular set with the first cards of Roger Clemens and Kirby Puckett. This week Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes will look at some traded and update cards.

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1985 Topps Traded Rickey Henderson. One of his first cards as a Yankee, this card is numbered 49T on the back.

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1989 Topps Traded Rickey Henderson. Headed back to the A’s, Rickey has the distinction of being the only other player in MLB history to be traded for the same player twice! He and Eric Pluck swapped spots on the Yank’s and A’s in 1985 and 1989.

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Actually an insert card from the 1994 Score Rookie/Traded set, this “Changing Places” card shows Rickey with starting his third stint with the A’s.

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1994 Topps Traded has the same design as the regular cards, just a different picture and card number on back.

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1998 Upper Deck SPx ‘Trade Winds’ sub-set card. Actually a regular base set card and one of my all-time favorite card designs shows Rickey embarking on his fourth tour of duty with the A’s.

Enjoy the thrill of the chase tracking down your favorite players who moved or your team’s new pick-ups this year with traded cards!

Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.

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Mike Shannon To Take Over @Cardinals Twitter Account

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (July 29, 2013) – Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon will hold his first-ever “Twittercast,” taking over @Cardinals for Wednesday night’s game against the Pirates.

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“While his voice is synonymous with Cardinals baseball, this will be Mike’s social media debut,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals. “This should be a lot of fun as Mike makes the transition from behind the microphone to behind the computer or smart phone for one night to tell the story of the game in 140 characters or less.”

During Wednesday’s game versus the Pirates – which is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. in Pittsburgh at PNC Park – Shannon will step away from his play-by-play seat on the Cardinals Radio Network and into Mike Shannon’s Grill in Edwardsville, IL, where he will host the @Cardinals Twitter Takeover.

Throughout the game, Shannon will comment on game action, share personal anecdotes, tweet answers to fan questions and more on @Cardinals under the hashtag #MikeShannon.

This marks the first time that the Cardinals Twitter account will be taken over by a personality. The first @Cardinals Twitter Takeover occurred earlier this season when fan retweets told the story of the game during the club’sShannonTwitter annual Social Media Night at the Ballpark. Fans are encouraged to join the conversation by submitting their questions for Mike on Twitter by using the hashtag #MikeShannon.

Shannon has manned the Cardinals broadcast booth since 1972. Throughout his tenure as the Voice of the Cardinals, Shannon has also made appearances for the Cardinals television broadcasts, including as a pre-game analyst for Fox Sports Midwest. A St. Louis native, Shannon played for the Cardinals from 1962 to 1970, a span that included two World Championships (’64 and ’67) and a National League pennant in 1968. In 1999, Shannon was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his on air career as well as his contributions on the field during his career as a player.  In May 2013, Mike was named the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame’s 26th Missouri Sports Legend in Springfield, Missouri.

Al Hrabosky will join John Rooney on the Cardinals Radio Network in place of Mike Shannon for the Wednesday night matchup. For more information on the takeover, fans can visit cardinals.com/mikeshannon.

Mike Shannon’s Grill

Mike Shannon’s Grill, the new upscale-casual eatery from the team behind downtown St. Louis’ favorite steakhouse Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood, is the first new Shannon family restaurant in 27 years.  Located in Edwardsville, IL in the Park at Plum Creek development, the restaurant serves comfort cuisine appealing to a wide variety of customers and dining occasions.

Cardinals Social Media

The Cardinals have seen dramatic growth in the team’s various social media platforms in recent years, most notably on Twitter (@cardinals) and Facebook (facebook.com/cardinals). In May of 2010, when the team used Twitter to launch the Stand for Stan effort to celebrate Stan Musial, the team had just over 5,000 followers. Today, the team has more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, making @Cardinals one of the largest followings in Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have more than 1.4 million fans on Facebook, as well as a growing presence on other social media platforms such as Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google Plus.

The Cardinals’ various social media efforts, such as the Stand for Stan Campaign, Facebook Fridays with Fredbird, the 2011 Like Mike Facebook campaign, the 2012 #FreesePlease Final Vote push and the 2013 #VinetheVote & #VoteSTL Fan All-Star balloting push have all been designed to take advantage of these communication mediums that are transforming how fans interact with the club. Fans can learn more about the club’s social media activity by visiting cardinals.com/connect.

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Five Players For The New Cardinals Hall Of Fame

The United Cardinal Bloggers have requested that the member blogs weigh in with their choices for inductees into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall Of Fame.

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There are some rules to this little game, so let’s go over those first:

- Players or executives with their name/number retired by the Cardinals are assumed to already be in
- Players or executives who are enshrined in Cooperstown with significant St. Louis ties are not eligible
- Players, managers, coaches, front office and broadcasters are all eligible
- Current active players are not eligible, all players must be retired

The Cardinals are building a new physical Hall Of Fame as part of the Ballpark Village project across the street from Busch Stadium.  It figures to be a shrine to those that impacted the St. Louis Cardinals throughout their career.

That being said, here’s a look at five people that I believe deserve to be included in the St. Louis Cardinals Hall Of Fame.

Curt Flood – Outfielder - 1958-1969
Flood’s stats may not quite stack up to what most Hall Of Fame standards require but it is important to note the overall impact that Flood had on the game.  

Flood’s now famous challenge of the reserve clause gave the game the free agency that we know today.  It also led to a better environment for the players, allowing them to be able to share in the popularity of the sport by demanding higher salaries and greater rewards for being the reason the fans were coming to games anyway.

He doesn’t get in solely on his merits of changing the landscape of the game, however. The man wasn’t a push over on the field, either.  He posted a .293 batting average and 1,853 hits during his time in St. Louis.  He also earned seven Gold Glove awards and three All Star selections while wearing the birds-on-the-bat.

Ray Lankford – Outfielder – 1990-2001, 2004
The Cardinal teams of the 1990′s are long forgotten by many fans, especially the teams of the early 90′s before the arrival of Tony LaRussa.  Those teams were owned by a company that no longer wanted them and the product on the field showed that fact.  Ray Lankford was the bright spot of that entire era.

Lankford, who hit more homeruns than any other player inside of Busch Stadium II, was a well-rounded player that hit over 200 home runs and stole over 200 bases while a Cardinal.  He played the game hard and his body broke down towards the end of his career, but he was a product of the system being drafted and retiring as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.  His production in the 1990′s places him in the Cardinals’ Hall Of Fame as the iconic member of an entire generation of Cardinal fans.

Ted Simmons – Catcher – 1968-1980
Possibly the easiest selection of the all, Ted Simmons draws attention from most Cardinal fans as being deserving of enshrinement in Cooperstown, not just in St. Louis.

Simmons is often remembered as the most prolific offensive catcher in the team’s history.  With 172 home runs while with the Cardinals and six All Star selections, it’s obvious that he was an integral part of the team during his tenure.  Simmons finished in the top-16 of MVP voting six times during his St. Louis career, though he would never win one.

He would play eight more years outside of St. Louis and compile almost 250 home runs total over his career.

Darryl Kile – Pitcher – 2000-2002
It is hard to believe that Kile was only with the Cardinals for such a short period of time.  There may not be a single player that left a more lasting impression on and off the field.

A loving father, devoted Christian, and leader in the clubhouse, Kile helped Cardinal fans remember what it was like to have a true “ace” on the mound in St. Louis again.  He nearly won a Cy Young award and found himself on the All Star roster his first year in St. Louis.  It was his work with his teammates, his visibility as a family man, and his untimely death that made him a part of Cardinal history forever.  His number adorns the wall of the bullpen inside a black circle with white lettering that reads “DK 57″, a symbol easily recognizable by most any Cardinal fan.

Jim Edmonds – Outfielder – 2000-2007
Jim Edmonds was a part of an extremely successful time in St. Louis, becoming one-third of the “MV3″ and engraving spots in people’s memories for years to come.

Under the guidelines of the project, Edmonds is the only one of the MV3 available for enshrinement, save possibly Scott Rolen due to expectations of his coming retirement.  Edmonds was famous for his game saving catches, his tremendous home runs and his charismatic style.  He won six gold gloves, a silver slugger award, and three All Star appearances while with the team.

A team level Hall Of Fame allows the franchise to honor players that fans remember fondly despite the overall concern of the numbers the Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown looks for.  These five players deserve enshrinement as some of the best Cardinals of all time.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by 
clicking here.

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St. Louis Cardinals have big opportunity with new Hall of Fame

As the St. Louis Cardinals pursue their 12th championship in 2013 on the field of the latest version of Busch Stadium, the site of the previous ballpark is undergoing a transformation from a vacant lot to what should be a vibrant home for Cardinals fans to celebrate, as well as learn about the franchise’s impressive history.

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Seven years after the Cardinals moved into the new stadium, Ballpark Village is finally taking shape beyond the leftfield wall. Construction is ongoing on buildings that will host restaurants, beer gardens, views into the stadium and the premier aspect of the new development: the new Cardinals Hall of Fame.

The franchise had a hall of fame and museum for years across the street from the old stadium, but it was torn down a few years after the team moved to the new ballpark. The team’s hall of fame has since been online, but it should have a new home by Opening Day 2014.

The Cardinals have enough history to share with their fans to probably fill the entire Ballpark Village complex, but of course, brick-and-morter buildings only have so much space.

So, what must the team include in the new hall of fame?

First, the hall of fame should be a place to honor Stan “The Man” Musial as never before. The organization honored Musial many times during his life and has provided meaningful tributes since he died Jan. 19 at age 92. The Cardinals wear a patch to honor Musial on the left sleeve of their uniforms this season and he has long had a statue at the main entrance of the latest two versions of Busch Stadium.

However, any Cardinals hall of fame must begin with Musial. He probably doesn’t need another statue; he already has two outside the stadium, but the entrance to the hall of fame could be flush with Musial tributes and memorabilia. Maybe a large No. 6 could hang from the ceiling in the front lobby and video pieces about Musial could play in the background.

Also, fans that enter the hall of fame could be treated to a video piece that tells the story of Cardinals history, from when the team began play in 1892 through the 11 championships and the many great players who played on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Of course, the main attraction to any hall of fame is the people who are enshrined, and the Cardinals have plenty of nominees worthy of that honor.

The 14 people with their pictures on the leftfield wall are obvious choices. From Rogers Hornsby, who helped the franchise win its first World Series title in 1926 as a player/manager, to Tony La Russa, who guided the team to its 10th and 11th championships as manager, the people honored on the retired numbers wall comprise the greatest collection of Cardinals heroes.

But they aren’t the only people who should be enshrined the hall of fame. Longtime Cardinals fans all have favorite players from a bygone era, and the new hall of fame would be a perfect place to honor those players who were integral in the team’s success but don’t have their number retired and aren’t in the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Frank Fritch from the 1920s and 1930s, Pepper Martin from 1928 through 1944 and Joe Medwick through much of the 1930s are all players before the television era who were vital to the team’s success in those years, and it would be special for the organization to give fans a chance to learn about those greats.

Players from the 1980s such as Willie McGee and Darrell Porter should certainly have plaques in the hall of fame, along with John Tudor, Joaquin Andujar and Todd Worrell. Before that era, Mike Shannon should be in the hall as a player and broadcaster, and Shannon’s teammates from the 1960s such as Tim McCarver, Orlando Cepeda and Curt Flood should be included.

Many other players throughout the years will certainly qualify for enshrinement, but the hall of fame is also a museum, and part of what will likely make it a must-see destination for Cardinals fans is the variety of memorabilia in the building.

Since the team has played in four different stadiums, portions of each should be represented in new exhibits. Sportsman’s Park hosted Cardinals baseball beginning in 1892, but the team also played on a field known by the same name in those early years before returning to the corner of Grand and Dodier avenues in the late 1920s.

That park was home to Cardinals baseball until 1966, when the team moved into the big concrete bowl in downtown called Busch Stadium. That park hosted baseball and football for many years and eventually gave way to the current Busch Stadium in 2006.

Each of those stadiums had their unique features, but the moments inside them are what made them special. Certainly, items from memorable moments such as Ozzie Smith’s “Go crazy, folks!” homerun in 1985 should be included, as well as mementos from Game 6 of the 2011 World Series when David Freese capped off a 10-9 win over the Texas Rangers in 11 innings.

Those moments were great, no doubt, but the Cardinals could really personalize the hall of fame if they have memorabilia from a variety of events in team history. Something from the day Glenn Brummer stole home against the San Francisco Giants would be cool, as would something from the day Lou Brock broke Ty Cobb’s stolen base record with 118 swipes in 1974 or anything from Bob Gibson’s record-setting 1968 season when he pitched to a 1.12 earned-run average.

It is long-past time for the Cardinals to have a home for their incredibly deep, lively history. The franchise has accumulated so many successes and wonderful stories through more than a century of baseball that its hall of fame and museum is certain to be one of the best in the country.

Hopefully the team does it right and Ballpark Village becomes the home to the proper roots for Cardinals Nation.

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UCB Roundtable: Who’s Worthy of Cardinal Immortality?

The United Cardinal Bloggers is having its annual preseason Roundtable discussion this month, where a variety of topics surrounding the St. Louis Cardinals organization are presented, and then analyzed by the membership. Yesterday was my day to poise my question, and the direction of choice was to cover the past, present and future, all in wrapped up in one.

Busch_Stadium Retired Numbers

Since the current ownership of the team took over, the standing rule on retired numbers has been that they are only officially retired once a player is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

However, in this era of Cardinal baseball (which has been arguably as successful as any), there are a lack of true Hall of Fame candidates. However, when you consider the era, players like Jim Edmonds, Yadier Molina, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright have all made monumental contributions to the team success….not to mention a certain former first baseman as well.

With that considered, how do you feel about the Cardinals’ policy on retired numbers, and which current-to-recently former Cardinals could/should deserve the honor? Here is a transcript of the discussion, and some varying opinions on candidates and on the policy itself:

Daniel Solzman: I was not a fan when #15 was re-issued.  Likewise, if #5 is issued again, I will not be happy about it.  If 29 gets issued to someone other than Chris Carpenter, I imagine a cluster of the fan base will be upset.  If Holliday stays healthy, he might be the other player to be joining Molina on that list.

I think Edmonds should see his jersey retired.  He might not get in on first ballot but I think, when you factor in those defensive gems, the HOF should vote him in.  His numbers are similar to Dale Murphy but his average was 20 points hire than Dale’s, which could and should make a difference.

It should be noted that while the debate to retire 51 officially rages on, the jersey has yet to be issued.

(Matt) Holliday is signed through 16 with an option for 17.  Barring a trade, he will have played most of his career as a Cardinal.  If the option for 17 gets picked up, he will have played 8.5 seasons as a Cardinal. All things considered, he should finish with some solid numbers worthy of 7 being retired.

Daniel Shoptaw: I understand the Cardinals’ position on retired numbers.  You hate to have a wide swath of numbers unavailable for use.  I mean, look at the Yanks–they are going to have start using triple digits in a decade or so.  You don’t want to be too free and easy with retirement–it’s supposed to be an honor.  Plus, who knows what the feelings of the fan base are going to be down the road.  I mean, if they’d retired 25 immediately after McGwire’s retirement, which could have been a sticky situation.

The unofficial retiring brings about some of the same problems.  Obviously 57 is retired, even though it’s not with the official group.  You start running out of numbers if you keep everyone of them that belonged to a “True Cardinal” off the backs of the next generation.

That said, I do think the Cards are going to need to make exceptions for Carpenter and Molina (if he needs it).  Those were two of the focal points of a great stretch of Cardinal baseball and should be honored in some way. While I appreciate Matt Holliday, I think one of things about the number retirement is that it has to be a player that captured the fans’ imagination as well as being a great player.  Ozzie, Lou, Gibby all have legends around them, true or not.  They were more than just good players, they were icons.

Carp has that.  Molina has that.  Holliday?  I don’t think so and I don’t know that, barring some dramatics, he’ll ever get there.  He’s a great player and I’m glad we have him, but I don’t see him as a candidate for retirement if his career–his solid, remarkable career–continues on this path.

J.D. Norton: I like the Cards policy, but I think they should step out a bit and put #15 up.  Yes, I think Jim Edmonds belongs in the HOF.  If you look at players like Dawson and Rice and then put Edmonds in the discussion, it’s a no brainer to me.  I think the Cards should lead the charge, retire his number now and hope that helps.  For those who disagree, name me 10 CF’ers who have better numbers than JE.  There’s 14 CF’ers in the HOF.  Even MLBN had Edmonds in the top 10 CF’ers of all-time.

Wes Keene: The policy is good. There’s a lot of emotion tied up with sports, and every few years we’ve got someone that’s easy to view as a hero on the team. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’ve got to have some method to keep the warm and fuzzies from running you out of numbers. I find the practice of predicting HOF inductees to be daunting so I don’t try. I’m not a writer, so I don’t get a vote, and the ones who do frequently befuddle me.

Since the retired number pool will be a subset of the HOF Cardinals, it gets even dicier. Given how rare retiring a number is, I’d suspect it’s Carp or Molina, but not both.

Dathan Brooks: I’d suggest that the organization’s policy, while perhaps not perfect, is as close as it can be.  A policy is exactly what’s necessary, too.  Case-by-case basis simply wouldn’t work, so I say good for them.  I think it speaks to the ownership of this team that they take this so seriously, too, let’s not let that go unsaid.  But I’ve said it before…let’s take a high-level view of where “we” are right now.  Off the top of my head, and without digging deep, which means I’m sure to miss/forget some, numbers that are spoken for/taken/unlikely to be issued soon/retired today, include:

1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 17, 20, 24, 25, 29, 32, 42, 45, 51, 57.

I know, Wainwright & others are left off the list while Yadi is included.  Might they reissue some of these?  Sure.  I’m just saying, there are twenty numbers here, more than half of which are below 25. You can’t just go retiring numbers for every fan favorite, or hold sacred a uniform number because a guy we really really liked once wore it–it just isn’t feasible.  I wrote about this on some blog a long time ago (too lazy to look it up), but the line, “Now batting, number 386, outfielder, Tony Gwynn IV” comes to mind from that blog post.  The Cards would simply run out of retired numbers too near into the future, and have to start coming up with creative (read: non-purist/traditionalist) ways to ID players.  (Symbols?  “The player formerly known as….”?  LOL  I kid, of course)

In any event, it’s a good problem to have.

Bob Netherton: I think the current policy on retired numbers is ridiculous.  While you don’t want to retire the number of every good player that comes through the system, a bit of easing on the current policy would go a long way to reward players like Curt Flood, Willie McGee and Chris Carpenter.

The counter-argument is the team will run out of numbers and start needing triple digits for jersey numbers.

With all due respect, pfffffffft.

We are talking about one of the most storied franchises in baseball, not the Miami Marlins or Colorado Rockies. A bit of perspective can help soft through this mess. We are only talking 3 or 4 players in a decade where the team has has monster success (40s, 60s, 80s, 00s).   There might be decades (50s, 70s, 90s) where there are at most one. Over 100 years, that’s still less than 30 numbers.  It takes about 40 numbers to field a team (25 plus DL). We are good for another century. Lets retire Flood and McGee now and get ready for Carpenter in a couple of years.

Christine Coleman: As many have already said, some kind of policy is definitely needed for retired numbers because it can get out of hand for a team like the Cardinals with such a long and rich tradition. The policy currently in place, with retiring numbers for Hall of Fame players, seems to work well since it sets the standard. I will mention, since I don’t think anyone else has yet, that Ken Boyer’s number is retired and he’s not in the Hall of Fame — other than Tony La Russa, who of course will be in the Hall of Fame, he’s the only non-Hall-of-Famer.

The practice of unofficially retiring numbers by not issuing them has its place, but it also does reach a point where numbers have to be used too. Keeping 51 and 57 out of circulation are good, and necessary, moves. It makes sense to not issue 15 as well, and not to use 5 right now anyway. But I saw someone complaining on Twitter last weekend that number 12 is being used already. If the Cards can’t issue a number because Lance Berkman wore it, that’s when triple-digit uniform numbers are going to be needed soon.

Bill Ivie: I like the current policy but I think, with current plans for Ballpark Village, it can be amended.

Since the team is building a Cardinals Hall Of Fame and museum, retired numbers should only belong to Cardinals Hall Of Famers, not necessarily Cardinals in Cooperstown.  This would allow guys like Darryl Kile, Willie McGee, Jim Edmonds to be honored in that way.

At the same time, I must say that I do not feel that all of these names need a number retired.  Wille was great for the team in the 80′s and Jimmy did his part in the 00′s.  But what about Vince Coleman who shattered records in the 80′s and was a big part of some post-season runs (minus tarp incidents).  If we look at his place in history, he probably deserves to be in this discussion.  But wait…that’s number 29…that’s Carp!  Carp had a major impact for a few years too.  Like Vince, he was hurt at times and wasn’t key in everything the team did during his tenure.  Who gets the number?

It’s a can of worms I don’t want to open up.  I think the Cards HOF alleviates some of this.  Willie McGee can be a Cardinal HOF member without his jersey retired.  It gives the opportunity to honor players for being a great Cardinal and also to honor players for being the best in the league and finding Cooperstown.

When do we retire #25?  How quickly do we retire #5, knowing that he is in a personal services contract with his current team long after he retires?

Brian Vaughn: I think there’s definitely a middle ground between necessitating a player’s Hall induction as a requirement to have his number required and letting any above average player have the honor. I say this largely because Hall of Fame voting is getting weirder and weirder; players aren’t exactly getting in based on merit thanks to some truly obnoxious voters, so I think there has to be a better way. Players like Carpenter particularly gave the Cardinals quite a large chunk of service time and excellence, and there’s something to be said for that.

John Nagel: To me, having a players number retired doesn’t make them a better player in my eyes. I agree with many that having too many waters down the award. Why can we still not honor players in other ways? Having a retired number should be set aside for HOF players.

Its to early to decide on Pujols. I say no on Edmonds and so far no on Wainwright. If Yadi continues on his path then he could be a yes. If the Cards continue with the HOF = number retired rule then Carpenter is a no as well.
Kevin Reynolds: I think the “only retire HOF numbers” policy is a necessity. Before long, finding numbers for players is going to be difficult enough. Besides, once you start amending the retired numbers rule, then you have to ask, “Where does it stop?”
I also feel the reason the question of retiring numbers has become significant is because the delay of the Cards HoF in Ballpark Village has left St. Louis with no obvious method to honor memorable Cardinal players and coaches. Carpenter deserves a sacred place in the future Cards HoF, but not on the wall of Busch Stadium.
Now, I might be in favor of a wall inside the fan tunnels of Busch that lists memorable Cardinal numbers/players like Carp and Edmonds…but leave the retired numbers wall for Baseball HOFers. That’s an exclusive group, and should be kept that way going forward.

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Naturals Hall of Fame Debuts This Season

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SPRINGDALE, AR – The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are proud to announce the creation of the Naturals Hall of Fame. Four former notable Naturals will appear on the first ballot.  Fans, prominent community members and local media members will be voting and collaborating to determine the first member of the Naturals Hall of Fame.

“We want to recognize individuals for their accomplishments and contributions to not only the Naturals but the baseball community,” said General Manager, Eric Edelstein.

The Naturals used the following criteria used to determine eligible candidates for the Hall of Fame:

  • Players who have appeared with the club only on rehab assignments are not eligible.
  • Player or coach must not be an active member of the team.
  • Individuals who have not coached or played for the Naturals are eligible for nomination/inclusion by “veterans selection” committee beginning with the second year inductee class.

After much consideration and various rounds of discussion the Naturals have announced the candidates for the first inductee to the Naturals Hall of Fame. The inaugural ballot for the Naturals Hall of Fame includes: Mike Moustakas, Kila Ka’aihue, Eric Hosmer, and Clint Robinson.

A member of the Naturals during the 2010 championship season, Mike Moustakas batted .347 in 66 games and hit 25 doubles, 21 home runs and drove in 76 runs. Moustakas was named the 2010 Texas League Player of the Year.

Kila Ka’aihue batted .314 with 11 doubles, 26 home runs and 79 RBI in 91 games with the Naturals during their inaugural season in 2008. Ka’aihue was named the 2008 Texas League Player of the Year.

Eric Hosmer joined the Naturals late in the 2010 season and was a key part of the title run. In 50 games with the Naturals, Hosmer batted .313 with 14 doubles and 13 home runs. Hosmer hit six home runs and had 12 RBI for the Naturals during the Texas League Playoffs.

Clint Robinson won the Triple Crown in 2010, leading the Texas League in batting average (.335), home runs (29) and RBI (98). Robinson became the first player since 1999 to win the Triple Crown and only the third player in Texas League history.

The Northwest Arkansas community will get their first chance to vote starting at FanFest on Saturday, March 2 at Arvest Ballpark. Fans will also be able to vote online at nwanaturals.com. The fan votes will be tallied and will be counted as one vote.  The fan vote will be added with the votes of the Naturals Hall of Fame Committee.  The Naturals with the most votes will be declared the winner and will be the first inductee to the Naturals Hall of Fame.

The Natural with the most votes will be announced on Opening Day, Thursday, April 4 and will be inducted into the Naturals Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 17. The first 2,000 fans through the gates at Arvest Ballpark on August 17 will receive a replica plaque of the Naturals player voted into the Naturals Hall of fame. 

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.

Posted in Minors, RoyalsComments (0)

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