First Time for Everything? MLB Star and World Series Hero Declines Induction Into Team's Hall of Fame


An obvious statement of fact, but a statement of fact regardless: Not every MLB player will make the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Given that, it’s understandable that each MLB team hosts its own little version of a team Hall of Fame for those star players who mean so much to a franchise — but may not have the statistical accomplishments to make the Hall proper.

It is, with all due respect, a rather rote and meaningless distinction that will typically mean more to a team’s fan base than just about anyone else. Given that, these quasi-Hall of Fame inductions have generally happened without a hitch throughout the annals of sports history.

That tranquility came to a curious conclusion on Saturday when retired St. Louis Cardinals star David Freese declined his induction into the team’s Hall of Fame — to a decidedly mixed reaction.

In a statement released through the team, Freese, effectively, disqualified himself from the team’s Hall of Fame based on his accomplishments and had “chosen to withdraw his candidacy for induction into the team’s Hall of Fame.”

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“This is something that I have given an extreme amount of thought to, humbly, even before the voting process began. I am aware of the impact I had helping the team bring great memories to the city I grew up in, including the 11th championship, but this honor means more to me,” Freese said.

Freese added: “I look at who I was during my tenure, and that weighs heavily on me. The Cardinals and the entire city have always had my back in every way. I’m forever grateful to be part of such an amazing organization and fan base then, now and in the future.

“I’m especially sorry to the fans that took the time to cast their votes. Cardinal Nation is basically the reason why I’ve unfortunately waited so long for this decision and made it more of a headache for so many people. I feel strongly about my decision and understand how people might feel about this.

“I get it. I’ll wear it. Thank you for always being there for me, and I am excited to be around the Cardinals as we move forward.”

Do you agree with Freese’s decision?

The release makes clear that Freese would still be a part of the organization as an alumnus and still be associated with the franchise.

Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III noted that the team was “disappointed” in Freese’s decision, but respected it.

If you do any sort of search for this story on social media, you’ll be inundated with all manner of responses and takes.

Some people feel that Freese is the ultimate paragon of humility. Others feel that Freese is being a bit of an egomaniac by making a fan celebration about himself (and also noting it’s not the best look for the organization or MLB either.)

Now, as to Freese’s accomplishments with the Cards?

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You can judge for yourself if you think he deserves that induction:

  • 44 home runs, 237 RBIs, .286 batting average across 466 games with the club
  • 2012 All-Star
  • 2011 World Series champion, World Series MVP, and NLCS MVP

Compare those numbers to another Cards Hall of Fame third baseman, Scott Rolen:

  • 111 home runs, 453 RBIs, .286 batting average across 661 games with the club
  • Four-time All-Star (2003-2006) with the club
  • Three-time Gold Glove winner (2003-2004, 2006) with the club
  • 2006 World Series Champion

It does feel like no comparison, as amazing as Freese played in that 2011 postseason stretch. But that stretch shouldn’t be discounted.

As ESPN noted, Freese drove in 21 runs during that 2011 playoffs run, which is an MLB record.

Oh, and he also starred in one of the most iconic playoff games in franchise history:

The Cardinals Hall of Fame Weekend begins Aug. 18 and goes through the 20th.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
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