Who will be next St. Louis Cardinals player elected to Hall of Fame?
ST. LOUIS (WGEM) - With Tuesday’s election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the long wait for Scott Rolen finally came to a happy conclusion.
Rolen, who will join Fred McGriff on induction day in Cooperstown, N.Y., this July, made electoral history with his selection: He now has the lowest first-year vote percentage -- just 10.2 percent -- of any player to eventually get to the 75 percent required from the writers since modern voting procedures began in 1966.
Rolen, the former St. Louis Cardinals third baseman, received 76.3 percent of the vote and was the only player elected in voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. McGriff was voted in previously by the Veterans Committee.
Rolen, who was already a member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame, becomes the 47th player to wear the Birds on the Bat and be elected to the Hall of Fame. Also, 13 former Cardinals managers have been enshrined.
An eight-time Gold Glove winner at the position, Rolen becomes the 18th third basemen elected to the Hall of Fame. He’ll have a say in whether he becomes the latest to wear the Cardinals hat on his plaque.
Rolen spent seven of his 17 seasons with Philadelphia and six with the Cardinals, where he won two pennants, the 2006 World Series championship, and had his finest year. In 2004, Rolen finished fourth in the MVP voting, sandwiched between teammates Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds as part of the MV3.
So who will be the next Cardinal HOFer?
Matt Holliday (2024)
There may be some support for the former Cardinals and Colorado Rockies outfielder but he most likely won’t be a first ballot selection.
His former Rockies teammate first baseman Todd Helton fell just five votes shy of admission this year so he should be a lock next year.
Also former Houston reliever Billy Wagner and Atlanta outfielder Andrew Jones are in the next tier as ballot holdovers.
Texas third baseman Andre Beltre will appear for the first time on the ballot next year and should get a lot of support as well as Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer and Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley.
Holliday should come in somewhere in the top third of votes but probably won’t make it next year.
Holliday was the NLCS MVP in 2007 for the Rockies. He helped the Cardinals to their 2011 World Series championship, and was a seven-time All-Star and a four-time Silver Slugger winner.
During his career, he hit .299/.379/.510 with an OPS of .889 with 316 home runs and 1,220 RBI.
Albert Pujols (2028)
This is a slam dunk.
The only question is will the greatest player of his generation receive 100 percent of the vote on his first try.
That should be a no-brainer but keep in mind several years ago Ken Griffey Jr. received 99.32 percent of the vote on the first ballot. (Somewhere out there one voter didn’t feel Griffey Jr. was a first ballot choice. What a bonehead.)
In his career, Pujols hit .298/.374/.544 with an OPS of .918. He had 3,384 hits, 703 home runs, 1914 runs scored, and 2218 RBI.
He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2001, a three-time MVP, an 11-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove winner, and a six-time Silver Slugger. He was the 2004 NLCS MVP and was essential to the Cardinals World Series championships in 2006 and 2011.
Pujols spent 11 seasons with the Cardinals before signing with the Angels. He was released by the Angels in 2021 and then picked up by the Dodgers. Pujols returned to the Cardinals for a memorable final season in 2022.
Yadier Molina (2028)
Molina most likely won’t be a first ballot choice through no fault of his own.
Some voters won’t view him as equal to Pujols thus not worthy of first ballot selection. On the other hand, other voters may want to see the dynamic duo enter the Hall together.
Another problem with Molina’s candidacy is that a lot of his contributions can’t be measured. You had to watch him on a daily basis for 19 years to get a true appreciation for his pitch-calling and defensive wizardry behind the plate, and his locker room leadership.
Molina was a 10-time All-Star, a nine-time Gold Glove winner, a four-time Platinum Glove winner, and a Silver Slugger. He also played a huge role in the Cardinals’ 2006 and 2011 World Series championships. He was a rookie during the Cardinals’ 2004 World Series loss to Boston.
Adam Wainwright (2029?)
The Cardinals big right-hander said his 19th season will be his final year so if it is, the third member of the Big Three will be eligible the year after Pujols and Molina.
Wainwright, who was acquired in a 2003 trade with the Atlanta Braves, probably isn’t a first ballot selection although his charisma and popularity with media members could enhance his candidacy.
The right-hander will head into next season needing five wins to reach 200 for his career. Wainwright is 15 behind Jesse Haines for the second-most wins in franchise history. Bob Gibson is the leader with 251.
Wainwright is a three-time All-Star (2010, 2013, 2014); two-time World Series champion (2006, 2011 injured); two-time Gold Glove Award (2009, 2013); Silver Slugger Award (2017); Roberto Clemente Award (2020); and two-time NL wins leader (2009, 2013).
Wainwright and Molina set the major-league record for career starts as a battery last season, eventually hitting 328 starts together.
Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado
The Cardinals current first baseman and third baseman should be HOF locks five years after they retire, whenever that is.
But that could be awhile because Goldschmidt, 35, and Arenado, 31, still have a lot of years left.
Jordan Walker (2048)
After a 20-year career that includes 500-plus home runs, Walker, 40, will be a certain first ballot choice when he retires after the 2043 season.
During that time, Walker made 13 All-Star teams and led the Cardinals to World Series championships in 2029 and 2036. He was also a three-time MVP. He surpassed Molina with the longest tenure as a Cardinal.
Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.