Rolen speeds into Cards Hall of Fame, literally

Isringhausen, Cooper join third baseman in class of 2019

April 27th, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- and , two players integral to the Cardinals’ run of success last decade and members of the 2006 World Series championship club, can now also call themselves Cardinals Hall of Famers.

The two earned a place in the Cardinals’ 2019 Hall of Fame class by being the top two finishers in a fan vote, which spanned six weeks and drew more than 75,000 votes. Keith Hernandez, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria and John Tudor were the other candidates for fans to select from on this year’s modern ballot.

As for what this honor meant to Rolen? He was beginning to express that during a conference call with reporters when he was unexpectedly interrupted.

“You know what guys,” he said. “I believe I just got pulled over.”

Rolen returned to the call minutes later.

“I was going 59 [mph] in a 45 [mph zone], he said,” reported Rolen. “You ask me how excited I was, and I just answered it.”

A third member of the class -- right-handed pitcher Mort Cooper -- was chosen for induction by members of the Red Ribbon Committee, a group of veteran sports journalists and Cardinals Hall of Fame managers who select an additional inductee who has been retired for at least 40 years.

The Cardinals will formally induct the three into their Hall of Fame and present them with their red jackets during an Aug. 24 ceremony at FOX Sports Midwest Live! in Ballpark Village.

“This will be great sharing it with a teammate, for as long as we played together,” Rolen said of Isringhausen. “He didn’t take the ball to wear a red jacket someday. I didn’t hand in the ball to wear a red jacket someday. We were doing our jobs. We were competing as hard as we could at the highest level, and all of sudden, when it’s all said and done and we look terrible, they’re handing us red jackets. Wow.”

Rolen joined the Cardinals via a midseason trade in 2002 and remained with the club through the ’07 season. During his time with St. Louis, the third baseman won four Gold Glove Awards, a Silver Slugger Award and was named to four All-Star teams.

He helped lift the Cardinals into the ’04 World Series with a two-run homer off Roger Clemens in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. Two years later, Rolen hit .421 as the Cardinals defeated the Tigers to capture their 10th World Series title.

Isringhausen spent much of the second half of his career in St. Louis, where, from 2002-08, he registered 217 saves. That remains a franchise record. His 401 appearances rank sixth most in club history, and Isringhausen sits third all-time among Cardinals relievers with 373 strikeouts. His 47 saves in ’04 tied Lee Smith’s then-franchise record, which Trevor Rosenthal later passed.

Together, Isringhausen and Rolen helped the Cardinals win four National League Central titles, two NL pennants and one World Series championship.

“I know Scotty went through some injuries, and I went through some injuries,” Isringhausen said. “This was that light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, for me. Now this is something that nobody can take away from me. It means a lot to go in with Scotty. I was hoping it would happen that way.”

Cooper was also a World Series champion with the Cardinals, in 1942 and '44. He began his eight seasons with the club in '38 and finished with 105 wins and a 2.77 ERA with St. Louis. He remains one of three pitchers in Cardinals history to win 20 games in three consecutive years. Included in the run was the '42 season, one in which Cooper was named the NL MVP after winning 22 games and posting a 1.78 ERA.

Cooper still ranks second in franchise history in World Series games started (six) and innings pitched (45).