2021 Cardinals Hall of Fame Ballot Nominees Announced

photo: Lee Smith, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria, Keith Hernandez

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals have revealed Steve Carlton, Keith Hernandez, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria and Lee Smith as the five players nominated for possible induction into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, presented by Edward Jones.  Fans can view the Cardinals Hall of Fame ballot and cast their selections online starting Monday, March 1, at cardinals.com/HOF.

The player with the most fan votes after voting concludes on Saturday, April 17, will be selected to join the 2020 Class of Tom Herr, John Tudor and Bill White for induction into the Cardinals Hall of Fame during an enshrinement ceremony on Saturday, August 21.  The sole member of the 2021 Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class will be announced in early May.

Tom Herr, John Tudor, Bill White

“Although the pandemic has created many challenges for our sport and organization, we will continue to celebrate and honor our team’s history by inducting another Cardinals player into our Hall of Fame during the 2021 season,” said Cardinals Chairman and CEO, Bill DeWitt Jr.

The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame was established to recognize the exceptional careers and significant achievements of the greatest players in Cardinals history.  To be eligible, the 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.

Each member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame is permanently enshrined in the Cardinals Hall of Fame Gallery presented by Edward Jones located on the second floor of Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village, just outside the entrance to the team’s museum.  The Hall of Fame Gallery is free and open to the public.  #CardsHOF

A description of each Hall of Fame nominee’s career as a Cardinal follows:

Steve Carlton

Steve Carlton (LHP)

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.

Keith Hernandez (1B)

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.

Matt Morris (RHP)

Years: 1997 – 2005                   101-62, 3.61 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 18 CG, 8 SHO, 1377.1 IP (206 Games Started)

Matt Morris made his Major League debut less than two years after being selected 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.

Edgar Renteria (SS)

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.

Lee Smith (RHP)

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.

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.  #CardsMuseum

Brian Walton’s take

This approach makes sense due to the pandemic. The 2020 Class could not be properly recognized last summer, and having to share their day with three or four others here in 2021 would not seem fair. This way, the group to be inducted this summer will be a total of four.

I also like the fact that the Modern Era (fan vote) is being narrowed down to one former player – at least for 2021. After seven years of two Modern ERA selections, the pool has gotten fairly shallow.

The five 2021 candidates are the holdovers from the 2020 ballot. All are worthy, but my vote goes to Keith Hernandez.

I get why some are against him, but please at least take the time to check out the body of the first baseman’s work with St. Louis prior to his trade to New York.

Whoever you support, please vote! It does matter. At several points in recent years, the fan balloting results were surprisingly close.

It remains to be seen if the aperture re-expands in 2022, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the one-Modern player change continues into the future.

The Veteran Era selections will definitely resume next summer, as selected by our Red Ribbon Committee.

My personal hope is the non-player category is re-energized by the DeWitts in 2022, as I believe many important figures from Cardinals history are deserving of recognition. Many are no longer with us, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be enshrined.

Examples include:

Dave Duncan, Dave Ricketts, Helene Britton, Butch Yatkeman, Mike Gonzalez, France Laux, Harry Caray, Ernie Hays, Buzzy Wares, Bing Devine, Chris von der Ahe, Charlie Comiskey.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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