photo: John Tudor, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria, Keith Hernandez
As the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame moves into its seventh year of existence, it is once again time to introduce the fan-driven voting process for “Modern Era” players – those greats who retired from active play in the last 40 years.
One important piece of information remained – the ballot of names for you to consider.
To that end, the 2020 edition of the “Red Ribbon Committee” of Cardinals baseball experts met recently. Our mission was to evaluate the merits of close to two dozen former team greats, with the goal of whittling that list down to between six and ten.
That is never an easy job with so many more deserving candidates than votes allowed.
Modern Era fan vote is coming
On Wednesday evening, the Cardinals disclosed the names of the 2020 Modern Era finalists – seven individuals delineated by the committee’s voting distribution. That is up from six candidates a year ago, with seven an especially fitting number for the seventh year of the process.
The first-time name on the 2020 ballot is second baseman Tommy Herr. In addition, two pitchers are back for consideration after an absence. Both are enshrined in Cooperstown, and despite having spent the majority of their careers on other teams, their time in St. Louis make them worthy candidates.
Steve Carlton returns for the third time after making the fan voting list in both 2015 and 2017 (but not since). Lee Smith receives his second shot after receiving consideration in 2018.
Two of the seven are assured of entering the Cardinals Hall in 2020.
Fans will select the winners from this list via an online voting process that will run from Sunday, March 1 through Friday, April 17. On Saturday, August 29, the pair will be among the seventh elected class to be enshrined into the Cardinals Hall of Fame – a group that will be either three or four honored individuals from the Cardinals’ rich past.
When inducted, they will join the 2019 fan vote winners Scott Rolen and Jason Isringhausen, and veteran selection Mort Cooper, along with the 40 prior Hall of Fame members.
Among other former Cardinals greats considered in the secret ballot process are outfielders George Hendrick and Brian Jordan and infielders Jose Oquendo and Terry Pendelton, and catcher Tom Pagnozzi. Pitchers also under consideration for the Modern Era fan ballot include Joaquin Andujar, Al Hrabosky, Kyle Lohse, Bob Tewksbury and Todd Worrell.
(My personal ballot, which allowed for up to 10 names, included just nine this year. I voted for all seven who went on to make the fan ballot – plus Hendrick and Andujar.)
Two other potential Hall additions
The “Red Ribbon” committee of Cardinals baseball experts has one other annual task. After considerable discussion, via another secret ballot, we voted in one individual from the “Veteran Era” category – those having completed their careers more than 40 years ago.
The merits of nine very strong candidates from St. Louis’ rich baseball history were considered in depth. They are first basemen Ripper Collins, Orlando Cepeda and Bill White, second baseman Julian Javier, third baseman Whitey Kurowski and pitchers Bill Doak, Larry Jackson, Howie Pollet and Bill Sherdel.
The final annual inductee may be an important figure from team history, such as a coach, broadcaster or member of the front office. This pick, if made, will be done at the club’s discretion and would be the fourth member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame Class of 2020. This selection was skipped in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
These two final selections – the “Veteran Era” and the ownership selection (if there is one) – will be announced along with identities of the two “Modern Era” ballot winners on Friday, May 8.
What is next?
When voting is open, please participate. It is easy and logical to think that one vote does not matter, but it does. For example, in 2016, just two hundredths of one percent separated the second and third-place candidates – with one getting in and the other not. Just a handful of votes could have swung that election in the opposite direction.
Here are the key dates to remember. The 2020 Class will be announced on Friday, May 8 at 6 p.m. CT during a Hall of Fame announcement special on FOX Sports Midwest, and also in a pre-game ceremony at Busch Stadium that evening. The formal enshrinement ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 29, culminating the Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
For details on each of the seven Modern Era candidates during the St. Louis segment of their careers, check out the following detail, provided by the Cardinals:
Years: 1965 – 1971 77-62, 3.10 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 66 CG, 16 SHO, 1265.1 IP (190 Games Started)
After reaching the big leagues as 20-year old, “Lefty” became a three-time All-Star during his seven seasons in St. Louis. He won 14 games as a starter for the 1967 World Series championship team, and followed up with 13 wins the following season as the organization claimed its second consecutive pennant. Carlton finished second in MLB with a 2.17 ERA in 1969 and was a 20-game winner in 1971.
Years: 1974 – 1983 .299/.385/.448, 1217 H, 265 2B, 81 HR, 595 RBI, 662 R (1165 Games)
Keith Hernandez played 10 seasons with the Cardinals, winning six straight Gold Gloves from 1978-1983 at first base. He was a National League co-MVP in 1979, batting a league leading .344 with 48 doubles, 11 home runs and 105 RBI. The two-time All-Star was a member of the 1982 World Championship team and batted .299 that season with 94 RBI. Hernandez’s .385 on-base percentage ranks fifth all-time among Cardinals hitters to have played at least 10 seasons with the club.
Years: 1979 – 1988 .274/.349/.354, 1021 H, 179 2B, 31 3B, 498 R, 152 SB (1029 Games)
Making his debut the same night Lou Brock clubbed his 3,000th career hit, Tom Herr made his mark on one of the most popular eras of Cardinals baseball. He led the National League in both fielding percentage and assists as a second baseman in 1981 and finished in the top-three in double plays turned in six of his 10 seasons in St. Louis. Herr’s finest offensive season came in 1985 when he was named to the All-Star team and finished fifth in NL MVP voting after finishing in the league’s top-ten in on-base percentage, batting average, hits, doubles, runs batted in and walks. That season he had 110 RBI and only eight home runs, making him the last player in NL history to reach 100+ RBI with less than 10 HR.
Years: 1997 – 2005 101-62, 3.61 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 18 CG, 8 SHO, 1377.1 IP (206 Games Started)
A first-round draft pick, Matt Morris made his Major League debut less than two years after being taken 12th overall in the 1995 amateur draft. In his 1997 rookie season, Morris made 33 starts and finished with a 12-9 record and a 3.19 ERA, tying him for second among Rookie of the Year balloting. A National League All-Star in 2001 and 2002, Morris finished third in Cy Young voting in 2001 after winning a Major League-best 22 games. In his eight seasons with the club, Morris recorded at least 11 wins six times, won four division titles and started 11 postseason games. Matt’s 986 strikeouts ranks sixth on the team’s all-time list and his .620 winning percentage is seventh-best in club history.
Years: 1999 – 2004 .290/.347/.420, 451 RBI, 207 2B, 148 SB (903 Games)
Edgar Renteria played six seasons with the Cardinals and was named a National League All-Star three times (2000, 2003, 2004). The Colombian shortstop won two Gold Gloves while with St. Louis in 2002 and 2003, and three Silver Slugger Awards in 2000, 2002 and 2003. Renteria batted .330 in 2003, a franchise single-season record for a shortstop, as are the 47 doubles he hit that season. His career high 100 RBI in 2003 ranks second among all St. Louis shortstops for a single season. Renteria’s 37 stolen bases his first season with the Cardinals are the most in a single-season since that time and his 148 steals while with St. Louis rank second in franchise history among shortstops.
Years: 1990 – 1993 160 Saves, 2.90 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 209 GF, 266.2 IP (245 Games)
Known as one of the most feared closers in baseball history, Lee Smith recorded at least 43 saves in three of his four seasons with the Cardinals, leading the league in 1991 and 1992. During his Cardinals career, Smith earned three All-Star selections and finished in the top-four of Cy Young voting twice. His 160 saves stood as a club record until Jason Isringhausen surpassed that total in 2007.
Years: 1985 – 1988, 1990 62-26, 2.52 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 22 CG, 12 SHO, 881.2 IP (125 Games Started)
During his five seasons in a Cardinals uniform, John Tudor accumulated a .705 winning percentage and 2.52 ERA over 125 starts, both of which still stand as all-time Cardinals records (minimum 750.0 IP). The left-hander’s finest season came in 1985 when he won 21 games (went 20-1 after June 1) with a miniscule 1.93 ERA, including 10 complete game shutouts, and finished second in National League Cy Young voting. A member of two National League pennant winning teams in 1985 and 1987, Tudor won at least 10 games in each of the four full seasons he pitched for the Redbirds.
Cardinals Hall of Fame Members
Jim Bottomley, Ken Boyer, Sam Breadon, Harry Brecheen, Lou Brock, Jack Buck, August A. “Gussie” Busch Jr., Chris Carpenter, Vince Coleman, Mort Cooper, Dizzy Dean, Jim Edmonds, Curt Flood, Bob Forsch, Frank Frisch, Bob Gibson, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines, Whitey Herzog, Rogers Hornsby, Jason Isringhausen, George Kissell, Tony La Russa, Ray Lankford, Marty Marion, Pepper Martin, Tim McCarver, Willie McGee, Mark McGwire, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Terry Moore, Stan Musial, Branch Rickey, Scott Rolen, Red Schoendienst, Mike Shannon, Ted Simmons, Enos Slaughter, Ozzie Smith, Billy Southworth, Bruce Sutter and Joe Torre.
2020 Cardinals Hall of Fame Red Ribbon Selection Committee
Tom Ackerman, Frank Cusumano, Derrick Goold, Whitey Herzog, Benjamin Hochman, Rick Hummel, Randy Karraker, Martin Kilcoyne, Tony La Russa, Bernie Miklasz, Joe Ostermeier, Rob Rains, Anne Rogers, Joe Torre and Brian Walton.
Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum
The 8,000-square-foot St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum on the second floor of Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village celebrates the rich history of baseball in St. Louis and the legacy of one of baseball’s most storied franchises. Since its creation in 2014, the Cardinals Hall of Fame, presented by Edward Jones, has inducted 40 former Cardinal players, coaches and executives. The Cardinals’ museum collection is the largest team-held collection in baseball and is second only to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in terms of size with over 22,000 memorabilia items and hundreds of thousands of archived photos. Fans can learn more about the museum at cardinals.com/museum.
Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation
232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!
Not yet a member?
Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.
© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.