While former closer Lee Smith will be the only Cardinal represented in the 2019 National Baseball Hall of Fame class, a pair of players with connections to the club did receive increased support on ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America this year.That includes Larry Walker,
While former closer Lee Smith will be the only Cardinal represented in the 2019 National Baseball Hall of Fame class, a pair of players with connections to the club did receive increased support on ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America this year.
That includes Larry Walker, who, after appearing on 34.1 percent of ballots last year, saw his support swell to 54.6 percent. Walker was one of four players to receive more than 50 percent of the vote but still fall short of the necessary 75 percent threshold for induction. Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were the others.
• Complete 2019 Hall of Fame election results
That jump in support positions Walker for one last push in 2020, his final year of eligibility.
A total of 425 BBWAA ballots were cast, and for a second consecutive year, four players earned election. Mariano Rivera became the first player in to be elected unanimously. Roy Halladay (85.4 percent), Edgar Martinez (85.4) and Mike Mussina (76.7) will also be enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., this July, along with Smith and Harold Baines, both of whom were elected by the Today's Game Era Committee in December.
Players become eligible for Hall of Fame consideration five years after retirement, and they can remain on the ballot for up to 10 years as long as they receive at least five percent of the vote. Former Cardinals Rick Ankiel, Lance Berkman, Darren Oliver and Placido Polanco will fall off the ballot after not meeting that threshold.
Scott Rolen, who played for the Cardinals from 2002-07, was named on 17.2 percent of ballots cast. That was an increase from the 10.2 percent support he received in his first year of eligibility.
Walker ended his 17-year career by appearing in 144 games with the Cardinals. A former National League MVP winner, Walker slashed .313/.400/.565 in his career. He was a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, five-time All-Star, three-time NL batting champ and three-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
Rolen had some of his best years in St. Louis, where he made four All-Star teams and won three Gold Glove Awards. Rolen was also a member of the Cardinals' 2006 championship team and batted .421 in that World Series. His career spanned 17 years, and his home run (316) and RBI (1,287) totals rank in the top 15 all-time among third basemen.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.