Cardinals announce initial Hall of Fame class

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – After the winter we've had so far, any kind of warm-up is welcome.

The Cardinals started their annual Winter Warm-Up on Saturday with a big announcement: who will be in the Cardinals' first class in the team's long-awaited Hall of Fame in Ballpark Village.

"We are very excited to be able to recognize the exceptional careers and significant achievements of some of the greatest names in Cardinals history," said Bill DeWitt Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the St. Louis Cardinals in a news release. "Induction into the Cardinals Hall of Fame will be one of the highest honors the team can bestow."

The annual induction process will include a "Red Ribbon" committee of Cardinals baseball experts, a six-week fan balloting process and induction weekend each summer. The initial class will be enshrined in the Cardinals Hall of Fame on Aug. 16.

The team announced 22 individuals for the inaugural class who will be automatically recognized. Those players include Cardinals figures who have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame or who have had their number retired by the team.

"We felt strongly that those who had been inducted into Cooperstown and who already had their number retired by the Cardinals should be part of the Cardinals Hall of Fame on day one," said Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals in a news release. "We didn't think it made sense with this list of greats to go through a lengthy formal induction process."

The Hall of Fame will honor players and individuals who have had the greatest impact on the success of the franchise. To be eligible, players have to have been a Cardinal for at least three seasons and retired for three years.

Here's the inaugural class:

Jim Bottomley, Ken Boyer, Lou Brock, Jack Buck, August A. "Gussie" Busch Jr., Dizzy Dean, Frank Frisch, Bob Gibson, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines, Whitey Herzog, Rogers Hornsby, Tony La Russa, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Branch Rickey, Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter, Ozzie Smith, Billy Southworth and Bruce Sutter

Here's the "Red Ribbon" selection panel:

Tom Ackerman, Frank Cusamano, Derrick Goold, Rick Hummel, Randy Karraker, Martin Kilcoyne, Jenifer Langosch, Tony La Russa, Bernie Miklasz, Red Schoendienst, Joe Strauss, and Brian Walton


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