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McGee swiftly takes lead in Hall of Fame voting

Fans can cast their ballots through April 22 to elect two modern-day inductees

When former St. Louis pitcher Matt Morris first received word of the eight modern-day candidates, including himself, for the first Cardinals Hall of Fame class, he knew one name was already a lock for induction.

"I think the joke is it's going to be someone else and Willie McGee," Morris said. "He was always my idol in St. Louis [with] how he respected the game and how the fans respected him. So when I saw him on there, I was pretty much thinking it can be him and one other guy."

It seems that Cards fans agree. Results as of Monday reveal that McGee, the 1985 National League Most Valuable Player Award winner who played 13 seasons with St. Louis, is out to a commanding lead with 33.29 percent of the fan vote.

In second place is six-time Gold Glove winner Jim Edmonds with 22.85 percent, followed by Bob Forsch (12.64 percent), Ted Simmons (12.09), Mark McGwire (8.92), Joe Torre (4.82), Morris (2.73) and Keith Hernandez (2.67).

Fans can go to and vote through April 22. The two leading vote-getters will be enshrined during an Aug. 16 ceremony at the club's new museum located in Ballpark Village. They will join the 22 Cards players who received automatic induction to the Cardinals Hall of Fame gallery because they are either already in the National Baseball Hall of Fame or have had their uniform number retired by the organization.

The eight candidates for the modern-day players ballot were selected by a committee that includes local media members as well as former manager Tony La Russa and the legendary Red Schoendienst. To be considered, the player must have played at least three seasons with the Cardinals and have been retired from Major League Baseball for at least three years.

In addition to the two nominees selected via fan vote, a veteran player -- one who has been retired for at least 40 years -- will be selected by a secret vote by members of the "Red Ribbon" committee. The Cards may also choose to induct a non-player to the Hall of Fame gallery.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for

St. Louis Cardinals