Reader poll – Which two should be Cardinals Hall of Famers?

As I hope you read over on the main site, TheCardinalNation.com, the St. Louis Cardinals are announcing the eight players to appear on the ballot for the club’s first-ever Hall of Fame vote.

They are Jim Edmonds, Bob Forsch, Keith Hernandez, Willie McGee, Mark McGwire, Matt Morris, Ted Simmons and Joe Torre.

Fan voting will open this Friday, March 7 and run approximately six weeks at cardinals.com/HOF. In the interim, I thought I would run a quick poll to gauge how readers feel about the candidates.

After all, a case could be made for any of the eight, but my biggest questions are in a comparative sense, since only two modern era players can enter annually.

Can a relative old-timer like Simmons outdistance a more recent fan favorite in McGee? Could a consistently strong performer in Edmonds outpoll a player whose peak was like no other in McGwire? Should Morris enter the Hall before Forsch, the only Cardinal to ever throw two no-hitters? Which MVP first baseman is more deserving – Hernandez or Torre?

Since only two players will be selected via the annual fan voting, we will allow two votes here, as well. This poll will be open for just 48 hours, closing on Friday when the official balloting begins.

As always, please share your thoughts on the candidates below.

[poll id=”207″]

From the team’s press release, following is a description of each nominee’s career as a Cardinal:

Jim Edmonds (#EdmondsHOF)

.285 AVG, 241 HR, 713 RBIs

Jim Edmonds joined the Cardinals in 2000 and played eight seasons, making the postseason in six of them and playing in two World Series, winning in 2006.  The three-time All-Star won six consecutive Gold Gloves from 2000-05.  He ranks 4th on the Cardinals all-time home run list with 241 and hit the game-ending home run in the 11th inning of the Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS.

Bob Forsch (#ForschHOF)

163-127, 3.67 ERA, 1079 K’s

Bob Forsch played 15 seasons with the Cardinals, making 401 starts, ranking 2nd all-time to franchise history.  He threw two no-hitters, coming in 1978 and again in 1983, becoming the only pitcher in Cardinals history to throw two.  He played in three World Series, winning in 1982, a year in which he threw a three-hit shutout in the Cardinals first ever NLCS game.  The two-time Silver Slugger Award winner won 163 games for the Cardinals, ranking third in franchise history.

Keith Hernandez (#HernandezHOF)

.299 AVG, 265 2B, 662 R

Keith Hernandez played 10 seasons with the Cardinals, winning six straight Gold Gloves from 1978-1983.  He was a co-MVP in 1979, batting a league leading .344 with 11 HR and 105 RBI.  The two-time All-Star was a member of the 1982 World Championship team.

Willie McGee (#McGeeHOF)

.294 AVG, 301 SB, 255 2B

Willie McGee played in 13 seasons with the Cardinals, playing in 1661 games, 9th all-time in franchise history.  He was a four-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves and was the 1985 National League MVP with league leading marks of a .353 batting average, 18 triples and 216 hits, while stealing 56 bases.  McGee played in three World Series, winning as a rookie in 1982 when he finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting.  Is one of six players to steal over 300 bases with the Cardinals, swiping 301.

Mark McGwire (#McGwireHOF)

220 HR, 473 RBIs, 1.111 OPS

Mark McGwire finished his career playing five seasons with the Cardinals.  In 1998, he broke the Major League Baseball single-season home run record of 61 set by Roger Maris with 70.  He blasted 220 career home runs with the Cardinals ranking 6th in franchise history, leading the National League in 1998 and 1999, the top two season totals in Cardinals history.  He set the Cardinals single season walk mark with 162 in 1998.  Had back-to-back seasons of 147 RBI, ranking tied for 3rd in Cardinals history.  He was a three-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger in 1998.

Matt Morris (#MorrisHOF)

101-62, 3.61 ERA, 986 K’s

Matt Morris pitched for the Cardinals from 1997-2005, finishing 3rd in the Rookie of the Year award in 1997 and was a two-time All-Star in 2001 and 2002.  He played in five postseasons and one World Series, in 2004.  He led the National League with 22 wins in 2001 and won 101 games over his career with the Cardinals.

Ted Simmons (#SimmonsHOF)

.298 AVG, 172 HR, 929 RBIs

Ted Simmons played 13 seasons with the Cardinals, making his Major League debut at 18-years old in 1968.  He was a six-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger in 1980.  In 1975, Simmons set the National League record for hits by a catcher with 188.  He posted six seasons of 20 or more home runs and 10 consecutive seasons from 1971-80 with 75 or more RBI.  His 172 HR rank 9th and 929 RBI are 7th all-time in Cardinals franchise history.

Joe Torre (#TorreHOF)

.308 AVG, 558 RBIs, 161 2B

Joe Torre played six seasons with the Cardinals at catcher, first base and third base from 1969-74.  He was a four-time All-Star and was named National League MVP in 1971, leading the league with a .363 batting average with 137 RBI and 230 hits, while hitting 24 home runs.  His 230 hits were the most since Stan Musial had 230 in 1948, the most by a Cardinal since World War II.  He posted a career batting average of .308, ranking 10th in Cardinals franchise history.

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