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Trio of legends elected to Cards' Hall of Fame

Coleman, Brecheen, Lankford to be inducted in Aug. 18 ceremony
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

ST. LOUIS -- One is remembered as a daring thief on the bases. Another was a rare combination of power and speed. The last won two World Series championships.

Now all three will live forever in Cardinals lore.

ST. LOUIS -- One is remembered as a daring thief on the bases. Another was a rare combination of power and speed. The last won two World Series championships.

Now all three will live forever in Cardinals lore.

In a television special prior to Friday's series opener against the Cubs, the Cardinals revealed three players who earned election to the franchise's Hall of Fame. The class of 2018 consists of Vince Coleman, Ray Lankford and Harry Brecheen. They will be inducted prior to the Aug. 18 game against the Brewers at the FOX Sports Midwest studios at Ballpark Village.

"Each year, we look forward to seeing who the Red Ribbon Committee and our fans elect into the Cardinals Hall of Fame," said Bill DeWitt Jr., Cardinals chairman and chief executive officer. "The outstanding achievements of these individuals have earned them the honor of being permanently recognized in the Cardinals Hall of Fame, along with some of the greatest names in team history. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of these remarkable players in August during Induction Weekend."

Chosen by the fans, Lankford and Coleman were the top two vote-getters over a six-week voting period in which 60,000 votes were cast. Brecheen was elected by a Red Ribbon Committee of Cardinals baseball experts who also collaborated to select the fan ballot, which included Keith Hernandez, Jason Isringhausen, Scott Rolen, Lee Smith and John Tudor.

Lankford and Coleman were elected in their first year on the ballot.

A cornerstone of two pennant-winning teams of the late 1980s, Coleman stole 549 bases over six seasons with St. Louis, leading the National League in steals in each of those campaigns. Coleman swiped a MLB rookie record 110 bases in 1985, when he burst onto the scene as one of the game's most exciting players.

Coleman won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1985 and was twice named an NL All-Star. He remains the last player to eclipse the 100-stolen-base mark in a single season, and he was the only player in the 20th century to do so in three consecutive seasons.

The club's starting center fielder from 1991-98, Lankford hit .273/.365/.481 across 13 seasons with the Cardinals. He recorded five seasons of 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases -- including four consecutive from 1995-98. He is the only player in franchise history to amass 200 of each in his career.

No player hit more home runs at Busch Stadium II than Lankford (123), who still ranks among the top 10 franchise leaders in runs scored, total bases, doubles, RBI and walks.

"The athleticism was always what you thought of with Ray [Lankford], and the toughness," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He knocked my helmet off in Milwaukee, and I had to pick it up against the screen. Honest to goodness truth. It was one of the hardest I've ever been hit. He rocked my world and I remember that was the player he was. If he was coming in home, he was coming in hot."

A left-handed starter for the club for parts of 11 seasons, Brecheen went 128-79 with a 2.91 ERA from 1943-52. He was one of the top starters of baseball's post World War II landscape, leading the NL in ERA, shutouts, strikeouts and WHIP in '48. Brecheen was nicknamed "The Cat" for his quick fielding skills and was known by hitters for a unique repertoire that featured both a screwball and a curveball. He went 4-1 with a 0.83 ERA in seven World Series appearances, leading the Cardinals to titles in 1944 and '46.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals