JUPITER, Fla. -- Two months ago, the Cardinals announced plans to establish a Hall of Fame within the team's new museum, which will have a home in the Ballpark Village development across the street from Busch Stadium.
Now, the organization is ready to start filling it -- and it is turning to fans for help.
Through a secret ballot process in late January, a "Red Ribbon" committee of Cardinals experts selected eight modern candidates to be considered for the inaugural class of inductees. Among them are former MVPs, Gold Glove Award winners, record setters and World Series champions.
Fans can go to cardinals.com/HOF and cast a vote for who among the eight deserves enshrinement this August. The ballot includes the following candidates (stats from St. Louis career):
Jim Edmonds (.285 BA, 241 HR, 713 RBI): Winner of six straight Gold Gloves from 2000-05; advanced to postseason in six of eight seasons, winning World Series in 2006
Bob Forsch (163-127, 3.67 ERA, 1,079 K): Played 15 seasons with St. Louis; ranks third in franchise history with 163 wins; only player in team history with two no-hitters
Keith Hernandez (.299 BA, 265 2B, 662 R): NL MVP winner in 1979 and member of 1982 World Series champions; five-time Gold Glove winner and two-time All-Star
Willie McGee (.294 BA, 301 SB, 255 2B): Spent 13 seasons with the Cardinals; 1985 MVP recipient after hitting .353 and stealing 56 bases; three-time Gold Glove winner
Mark McGwire (1.111 OPS, 220 HR, 473 RBI): Broke Roger Maris' home run record with 70 in 1998; led NL in homers in '98 and '99, driving in 147 each season; three time All-Star
Matt Morris (101-62, 3.61 ERA, 986 K): Pitched for Cardinals from 1997-2005 and participated in postseason five times; led NL with 22 wins in 2001; two-time All-Star
Ted Simmons (.298 BA, 172 HR, 929 RBI): Six-time All-Star over 13 seasons in St. Louis; set NL record with 188 hits as a catcher in 1975; Silver Slugger winner in 1980
Joe Torre (.308 BA, 558 RBI, 161 2B): Played catcher, first and third from 1969-74; earned NL MVP honors in 1971 after batting .363 with 230 hits and 137 RBIs
Online voting will run through April 22, after which the two candidates with the most votes will be named as members of the 2014 inductee class. That class will also include 22 Cardinals who earned automatic induction because they have already been enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame as Cardinals or have had their number retired by the organization.
Plaques for those 22 players and managers will be on display when the Cardinals open the museum and Hall of Fame on April 7, the date of the Cardinals' home opener.
The two players chosen through the fan ballot process will be enshrined during an Aug. 16 ceremony at the museum. At that time, another former player -- this one elected through the veteran ballot process -- also will be inducted. This player will be someone who has been retired for at least 40 years and received the most votes during a secret vote by members of the "Red Ribbon" committee.
For a player to be considered for the modern ballot, he must have played at least three seasons for the Cardinals and be retired from Major League Baseball for at least three years. The "Red Ribbon" committee looked at the credentials of 21 players fitting both criteria before narrowing the list to the aforementioned eight.
Separate of these two voting processes, the Cardinals can also chose to induct a non-player -- for example, a broadcaster, coach or front-office member -- who played an important role in franchise history.
The Cardinals included the following members on their 2014 "Red Ribbon" committee: Tom Ackerman, Frank Cusumano, Derrick Goold, Rick Hummel, Randy Karraker, Martin Kilcoyne, Jenifer Langosch, Tony La Russa, Bernie Miklasz, Joe Ostermeier, Rob Rains, Red Schoendienst, Joe Strauss and Brian Walton.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.