photo: Larry Walker and Scott Rolen (Ford-Mobley.com)
Two ex-Cardinals gain votes for Hall of Fame
The results of the vote for the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class was announced last week. Votes are cast in December by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Four players passed the requisite 75% threshold for induction – Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, and Mike Mussina. Former Cardinals closer Lee Smith was announced as a Today’s Era committee inductee back in December.
Though none of the four who received sufficient votes for induction were former Cardinals, two former Cardinals gained additional support beyond the level they received in the previous year.
Larry Walker appeared in 144 games for the Cardinals in 2004 and 2005, at the end of his 17-year major league career. The Rockies traded Walker to St. Louis in August 2004. Walker played in 44 games that season, slashing .280/.393/.560. Walker was bothered by a herniated disc in his neck during the 2005 season, but managed to play in 100 games, slashing .289/.384/.502.
Walker garnered 54.6 % of the vote on this year’s ballot, up from 34.1% last year. Walker has only one more year of eligibility on the ballot.
Scott Rolen was traded to St. Louis in July 2002 and remained with the team through the end of the 2007 season. Rolen finished fourth in the MVP voting in 2004, and he, along with Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds, were nicknamed “the MV3”. Over his six years as a Cardinal, the third baseman won three Gold Gloves and was named to four All-Star teams.
In his second year of HOF eligibility, Rolen received 17.2% of the votes, up from 10.2% the year before. Rolen has eight years of eligibility remaining.
Cardinals prospects appear on MLB Pipeline Top 100 list
MLB Pipeline announced its Top 100 prospects list last Friday, and two Cardinals appear.
Alex Reyes made the list at the number 33 spot, the fourth straight year he was recognized. Reyes remains eligible due to injuries that have kept him from reaching the innings threshold that would remove him from prospect status. Reyes was the top ranked pitcher at number six on the 2017 list.
The Cardinals first-round draft pick in 2018, Nolan Gorman, made his debut on the list at number 61. Gorman will begin his first full season as a Cardinals prospect in 2019. Gorman hit 17 home runs in 63 games in 2018, beginning at the rookie league affiliate in Johnson City before being promoted to Class-A Peoria toward the end of the season.
Reyes will come to spring training to be stretched out as a starter. Whether he is ready to make the major league roster and in what role remains an open question.
Gorman is expected to begin 2019 where he ended last season, Class-A Peoria.
Teen Prospects Get Diplomas
This past weekend at the Cardinals academy in the Dominican Republic, nine players received their high school diplomas. They are the first to complete a new program developed by assistant general manager Moises Rodriguez and international director Luis Morales.
The nine new graduates are Freddy De Jesus, Diego Cordero, Gustavo Rodriguez, Alexander Samuel, Franklin Soto, Luis Montano, Roy Garcia, Joerlin De Los Santos and Darlyn Del Villar. Another 35 players are expected to go through the program.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch has more details here.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
There are no transactions to report.
C Yadier Molina continues to recover from cleanup surgery on his left knee over the offseason. Molina told media at the Winter Warm-Up last weekend that his knee is currently at 50% and he is squatting at 10%. With spring training set to start in a little over two weeks, Molina will be limited in his ability to catch bullpens in the early weeks of camp. Molina will also likely not play in any spring training games until mid-March.
40-man roster outfielder Justin Williams will not be ready to start the season. In December, Williams suffered fractures/dislocation in his metacarpal bones in his right hand when he hit a television set.
Reliever Luke Gregerson, who again skipped Winter Warm-Up, is reportedly not “feeling perfect”, reported John Mozeliak. This puts the start of the right-hander’s second of two years with the Cardinals in jeopardy.
Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 12, with their first workout the next day, February 13. Position players report on February 17 and their first workout is the next day, February 18. The first spring training game is February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. The Spring Training Schedule can be found here. A preliminary spring television and radio schedule is here.
Opening Day of the 2019 regular season is March 28 with the Cardinals on the road in Milwaukee. The first series of the season is a four game series against the Brewers, with the first game to start at 1:10 CT. That game will be followed by a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.
The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates beginning on April 1. There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2. The second game of the series takes place on Wednesday, April 3.
The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres. Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with two games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.
Blast from the Past
In the second installment of the Cardinals in the Baseball Hall of Fame series, we remember former Cardinal and Hall of Famer Joe “Ducky” Medwick.
Medwick was born November 24, 1911 in Carteret, New Jersey, the son of Hungarian immigrants. Medwick was an excellent athlete in multiple sports in high school, including baseball. He originally intended to play football at the University of Notre Dame for coach Knute Rockne but chose to play professional baseball over attending college.
Medwick began his baseball career with the Scottsdale Scotties of the Middle Atlantic League in 1930. He played the following two seasons with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League.
Medwick made his major league debut with the Cardinals in September 1932 at the age of 20. Medwick played 17 years in the major leagues, playing for both the Cardinals and the Brooklyn Dodgers twice in his career. Medwick began and ended his major league career with St. Louis.
In his first stint with the Cardinals, from 1932-1940, Medwick appeared in six All-Star Games. His best season was 1937, in which he won both the NL MVP and the NL Triple Crown. Medwick’s 64 doubles in 1936 remains the National League record. He also holds the major league record for consecutive seasons with 40 or more doubles, from 1933 to 1939.
The Cardinals traded Medwick to the Brooklyn Dodgers in June 1940 for four players and $125,000. He played for the Dodgers until July 1943, when he was claimed by the New York Giants off waivers. Medwick remained with the Giants until he was traded to the Boston Braves in July 1945. The Braves released him in February 1946. The St. Louis Browns signed Medwick as a free agent in March 1946, but they released him a month later. The Dodgers signed Medwick in June of 1946 and released him in October. The Yankees signed him in December 1946 and released him the following April.
The Cardinals signed Medwick as a free agent in May of 1947. He was released in October then re-signed in April 1948. The Cardinals released him again in October 1948.
Medwick continued to play baseball in the minor leagues from 1949 through 1952. He retired from baseball at the end of the 1952 season. Medwick became a hitting coach in the Cardinals minor league system in his later years and was serving in that role at the time of his death in 1975. He is buried in Sunset Hills, Missouri.
Medwick was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968. He received no votes for the seven years after his retirement. This was attributed to a strained relationship with his teammates and the press. Because of his spot in Cooperstown, Medwick was among the 22 players inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in the inaugural class in 2014.
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