With the latest results for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Jim Edmonds joined a growing list of former St. Louis Cardinals who were only allowed to make a brief cameo on the ballot before their name was removed from consideration. For some, it was expected but for others it remains an issue of contention.

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The following players spent at least part of their careers in St. Louis and deserved a longer time, if not in some cases actual selection on the Hall of Fame ballot instead of a quick exit.

3-6-15 Willie McGeeWillie McGee

Put aside for a moment that he is one of the most beloved athletes in St. Louis sports history. The accolades are all there for McGee–a four-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, 1985 MVP. Twice he led the league in hitting.

Big moments in the post-season? The catch against the wall as a rookie in Milwaukee? Pick one of his four World Series home runs to go with 23 RBIs.

And McGee was no flash in the pan, playing in over 2200 games during the course of his 18-year career–with a .295 batting mark.

Willie received 5% support in 2005 but only 2.3% in 2006 for the Hall of Fame.

A louder personality would’ve drawn more attention during his playing days and likely in turn, stronger support for Cooperstown. But, that humble approach is part of the reason we love Willie McGee.

Jack Clark

Eleven times during his 18 years, Clark hit at least 20 home runs. And he did so in the 70’s-80’s when that was a significant amount as seven of those 20+ seasons was Top 10 in the game. Since he retired, more than 30 players have eclipsed his 340 round-trippers dropping him to 96th on the MLB All-Time HR list.

Exit velocity is a popular analytic today and one can only imagine at what speed the ball would’ve been measured as The Ripper connected on those violent swings.

Jack Clark received only 1.5% of votes in his 1998 appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot.

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Will Clark

Granted, he only played the final 51 games of his career for St. Louis. That said, Will Clark had four Top 5 finishes in MVP voting and had a career .303 batting average over his fifteen seasons. A Gold Glove, two Silver Sluggers, and six All-Star appearances seemed to be worthy of more than the 4.4% support he received on the 2006 ballot.

FLORIDA MARLINS VS ST. LOUIS CARDINALSJim Edmonds

Apparently, winning eight Gold Gloves doesn’t carry enough weight to garner at least a second look on the ballot as Edmonds was ousted this year with only 2.5% of the vote. His numbers hurt by playing in the PED Era, Edmonds averaged 33 HRs and 96 RBIs between 1995-2005 with a .293 batting average.

In a direct comparison to Ken Griffey Jr., the overall numbers don’t matchup for Edmonds–who by his own admission noted he missed too much time to injury to reach some key milestone offensive numbers. But both players finished with a .284 batting average, Edmonds a .376 OBP to Griffey’s .370, while Griffey held the edge in SLG by .907 to .903. Pretty similar performances.

Not too mention, it’s pretty small company of players that have at least 393 home runs and 8 Gold Gloves: Barry Bonds, Andre Dawson, Griffey Jr., Andruw Jones, Al Kaline, Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, and Edmonds.

Ted SimmonsTed Simmons

The lack of team success for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1970’s hurt Ted Simmons.

Being compared to Johnny Bench also probably didn’t help his cause–although it should have actually helped.

From 1968-80, Bench hit .270 with 1707 hits, 331 home runs, and 1185 runs driven in. During a similar 13-year stretch from 1971-83, Simmons hit .294 with 2043 hits, 219 home runs, and 1168 runs driven in.

Defensively, Simmons never won a Gold Glove–Bench dominated that category. But Simba threw out a very respectable 34% of runners attempting to steal against him and according to Al Hrabosky amongst others, was under-rated behind the plate.

Remarkably, Simmons received only 3.7% of the vote in 1994.

 

photo credit: St. Louis Baseball Weekly, UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt

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