Cubs welcome Cardenal, Hughes to Hall of Fame

September 10th, 2022

CHICAGO -- After the blue curtain dropped on Saturday morning to reveal the new Cubs Hall of Fame plaques on the left-field concourse at Wrigley Field, Jose Cardenal was ready with a one-liner for when the applause quieted.

"I wish I had my Afro," Cardenal said with a smile, pointing to the shorter gray hair that now rests atop his head. "It's gone."

Prior to the Cubs' game against the Giants, both Cardenal and long-time radio voice Pat Hughes were honored as two of the newest members of the team's Hall of Fame. The Cubs also unveiled a plaque celebrating the career of the late Buck O'Neil, who was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame this year.

National Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Andre Dawson, Lee Smith and Ryne Sandberg were also on hand for the ceremony, along with Cubs Hall of Famer Rick Sutcliffe. Smith helped Cardenal into his new blue Cubs Hall of Fame jacket, while Sandberg did the honors with Hughes.

Under the collar of Hughes' jacket, stitched in red, was his home run call: "That ball's got a chaaaance ... GONE!"

"It's an unbelievable honor," Hughes said. "One I'll cherish for the rest of my life."

Hughes, who began his career in the booth with the Cubs in 1996, joined Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse as the only broadcasters in the team's Hall of Fame who were not former players. The significance of that fact was not lost on the current voice of the Cubs.

"It's very special," Hughes said. "To be bracketed with Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse in the long and legendary history of the Cubs, I must have been doing something right."

The Cuba-born Cardenal spent six of his 18 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Cubs. From 1972-77, the outfielder hit at a .296 clip with 129 stolen bases, 236 extra-base hits, 433 runs scored and as many walks as strikeouts (306) in 821 games.

Cardenal's signature look -- a large Afro jutting out from the sides of his Cubs cap -- and his all-around, energetic style of play made him a favorite among fans. He was a favorite of Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder, who delivered the Hall of Fame news to Cardenal in a Zoom call last month.

"He told me he wished he can be here," Cardenal said. "But he's got a big show at Madison Square Garden."

Former First Lady Michelle Obama has also made it known how much she loved watching Cardenal play for the Cubs. In a visit to the White House after the 2016 World Series title, Cardenal received a special invitation so he could meet one of his biggest fans.

"She just flied to me and grabbed me and was hugging me," Cardenal said. "I didn't know what to tell her. I didn't say anything to her. It was something I'll never forget in my life, either. Like I've said, so many good things have happened in my baseball career. But today has got to be the best."