The groundswell of support had built considerably over the past 12 months. On Friday came the announcement confirming that it had all paid off.
The Cardinals announced Friday that outfielders Ray Lankford and Vince Coleman have been elected to the Cardinals Hall of Fame. The process that began with selections for the ballot by the Red Ribbon Committee concluded with an online fan vote that gave the fans a voice they had never had previously with regard to these two players.
Remarkably, neither Lankford nor Coleman had ever been listed on the ballot prior to this year for the fans to have the opportunity to vote for them. Social media clamoring at this realization following last year’s election likely influenced the committee to place them for consideration this time around-and the fans immediately made their voices heard. Lankford and Coleman beat out other Cardinal greats on the ballot including Keith Hernandez, Jason Isringhausen, Scott Rolen, Lee Smith and John Tudor.
Coleman quickly cemented his status as a fan favorite when he burst onto the scene in 1985, stealing 110 bases and winning Rookie of the Year as St. Louis ascended to the National League pennant. Coleman went on to lead the league in stolen bases in each of his six seasons wearing the birds on the bat, exemplifying the very best of Whitey ball with 752 steals in his Cardinal career.
Though the prime of his career came during a lull for the Cardinals as a team throughout the 90s, Lankford boasts a resume that continues to look better with time. A sabermetric dream, Lankford possessed a special combination of power and speed that vaulted him to 13th place on the Cardinals all-time list for Wins Above Replacement. Lankford is the only Cardinal to ever record 200 home runs and steals, with 228 home runs and 250 stolen bases with St. Louis.
In the veteran player category, the Red Ribbon Committee also elected Harry Brecheen to the Cardinals Hall of Fame. Brecheen pitched for St. Louis between 1940 and 1952, compiling a career record of 128-79 with a 2.91 ERA as a Cardinal.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held August 18th at Ballpark Village.