Cheap Seats

Cardinals outfield wizard Edmonds knocked out of Hall of Fame consideration

Jim Edmonds celebrates after hitting a game-winning home run in the 2004 National League Championship Series.
Jim Edmonds celebrates after hitting a game-winning home run in the 2004 National League Championship Series.

It’s a real shame that former St. Louis Cardinals all-star centerfielder didn’t get much consideration in Hall of Fame balloting.

But it’s a crime that the seven-time Gold Glove Award winner didn’t even get enough votes to remain on the ballot.

I can’t figure out how fellow centerfielder Ken Griffey Jr. was a nearly unanimous choice for the honor. But Edmonds couldn’t command more than 2.5 percent of the voters’ ballots?

Griffey was certainly a worthy Hall of Famer with his combination of power at the plate and defensive skill in the most demanding outfield position. But Edmonds compares to Hall of Fame centerfielder Duke Snider offensively and may have been a little bit better than Griffey in the field.

If Griffey had a higher peak, he certainly wasn’t able to maintain his defensive greatness as long as Edmonds did because of injuries that slowed him later in his career.

Watch Edmonds steal a home run against Griffey’s Cincinnati Reds.

Griffey won 10 Gold Gloves over the course of his career. But he played 22 years and didn’t win any of them in his final 12 years.

A whopping 630 home runs by Griffey is incredible. But Edmonds left the park 393 times. That’s more than all but four of the 17 players who primarily manned centerfield who have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Only Willie Mays, 660, Griffey, 630, and Mickey Mantle, 536, and Snider, 408, had more.

Griffey may have hit more home runs than Edmonds, but he never hit one bigger than this.

A guy who did hit a ton of home runs with the Cardinals, Albert Pujols, owes a debt of gratitude to Edmonds. With Jimmy Ballgame batting cleanup, Pujols saw a lot more pitches than he would have with a less formidable batter protecting him in the order.

Of course, those of us who watched him play know there was a lot more to Edmonds’ game than the flashy homers. He stole as many runs from the other team as he drove in. He was also an incredible student of the game, picking up on the most subtle nuances of pitchers and he always seemed to know where a ball was going to be hit before the batter started his swing.

Watch Edmonds make an incredible catch in the 2004 NLCS.

I figured Edmonds would have a tough time making it to the Hall of Fame. But I never thought he’d be one and done, eliminated from the balloting in his first year of eligibility.

I don’t know what the voters were watching over the past couple of decades. But it couldn’t have been ESPN where Edmonds often dominated Griffey in the baseball highlights.

They missed some great games with Edmonds in the field.