Freese, Oquendo, Lanier to join Cards HOF

May 3rd, 2023

ST. LOUIS -- Already a legendary local figure because of his St. Louis-area roots and a 2011 playoff performance for the ages -- one that included a World Series-saving triple and a game-winning home run -- David Freese will now be forever distinguished as being a Cardinals Hall of Famer.

The club announced on Wednesday that Freese, Cardinals Minor League instructor José Oquendo and two-time World Series-winning pitcher Max Lanier will make up the ninth induction class into the Cardinals Hall of Fame. The enshrinement will be held at Ballpark Village in downtown St. Louis during Hall of Fame Weekend presented by Edward Jones on Aug. 20. The Cardinals host the Mets later that afternoon.

Freese was the top vote-getter in online balloting among fans. Nearly 40,000 votes were cast over an eight-week period this spring. The 2023 ballot also included Cardinals legends Joaquín Andújar, Steve Carlton, Matt Morris and Edgar Renteria.

The Red Ribbon Committee, a group comprised of 14 St. Louis baseball experts, elected Lanier as a veteran player for induction using a secret ballot process. As for Oquendo, he was an organizational selection to honor a significant figure in team history. Known affectionately as “The Secret Weapon” -- a nickname given to him by Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck -- Oquendo has spent nearly 40 years in the Cardinals' organization: 10 as a player, 18 seasons as a Major League coach and now as a Minor League instructor.

“We take great pride in the selection process we use for electing new members of the Cardinals Hall of Fame,” said Cardinals chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. in a release. “I’d like to thank our fans as well as the Red Ribbon Committee who cast their votes for this year’s induction class. Congratulations to David Freese, José Oquendo, and the late Max Lanier on this tremendous honor. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of these players during our induction ceremony in August.”

The 50 Hall members are enshrined in the Cardinals Hall of Fame Gallery presented by Edward Jones, which is located on the second floor of Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village just outside the entrance to the Cardinals Museum. The Hall of Fame Gallery is free and open to the public. Fans can visit for more information.

Freese, a product of the St. Louis suburb of Wildwood, is best known for the run he had in 2011 to help the Cardinals win the 11th World Series title in franchise history. That postseason, Freese was named NLCS and World Series MVP while setting MLB records for most RBIs (21) and extra-base hits (14) in the playoffs. His finest moment came in Game 6 of the World Series against the Rangers when the Cardinals were down to their final strike before a potential elimination. Freese drilled a two-run triple into the right-field corner to knot the game. Then, following another two-out, two-strike RBI hit by then-teammate Lance Berkman in the 10th inning, Freese won Game 6 in the 11th with a walk-off home run. St. Louis would go on to win Game 7 and capture another World Series crown.

In 466 games with the Cardinals from 2009-13, Freese slashed .286/.356/.427 with 81 doubles, 44 home runs and 237 RBIs. In 2012, he had career highs of 20 homers and 79 RBIs while batting .293 and being selected to the All-Star Game.

Oquendo played for the Cardinals from 1986-95 and slashed .264/.359/.331 with 709 hits, 129 extra-base hits and 227 RBIs in 989 games. He has also worked for the organization as bench coach (1999), third-base coach (2000-15 and 2018), Minor League manager (1998) and Minor League instructor (1997 and 2019-present).

Oquendo played all nine positions during the 1988 season, and he set an MLB record for second basemen with a .996 fielding percentage in 1990. He was the third-base coach for the 2006 and '11 World Series championship teams and the '04 and '13 NL pennant winners.

Lanier made 187 starts for the Cardinals across 12 seasons between 1938-46 and 1949-51, and he pitched in seven World Series games. The two-time World Series champion and two-time All-Star won 101 games in his Cardinals career, tied for the 11th-most victories in franchise history.