ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Following the lead of some other Major League Baseball teams – some with not as rich a history – the St. Louis Cardinals will open their own Hall of Fame (#CardsHOF) this Spring, around the time of Opening Day.

It’ll be located at Ballpark Village, next to Busch Stadium, and will be free to visit anytime of year.

Team chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. made the announcement, Saturday, during the Cardinals Care Winter Warmup fan fest, “It’s an opportunity to honor the greatest players who’ve worn the Cardinal uniform, and the most-important figures in our history. With 19 National League pennants and 11 World Championships, there’s no shortage of worthy candidates.”

Twenty-two Cardinals who have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York will make up the inaugural class. They are: Jim Bottomley, Lou Brock, Jack Buck, Gussie Busch, Dizzy Dean, Frank Frisch, Bob Gibson, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines, Whitey Herzog, Rogers Hornsby, Tony LaRussa, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Branch Rickey, Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter, Ozzie Smith, Billy Southworth, and Bruce Sutter.

Following that, a Red Ribbon panel of media and Cardinals historians will vote annually on a veterans selection, as well as set up a ballot for fan voting on modern-day retired players, according to Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III, “The fan voting, sponsored by Edward Jones, will begin March 1 and end mid-April. In late April, we’ll announce the selected veteran, two modern-day players, and organization pick, if any.”

Former Cards manager Tony LaRussa says he’s honored to be serving on the Red Ribbon panel, “My Dad being a fanatic, we saw the Cardinals in St. Petersburg Florida during the Spring since I was five-years-old. I’ve followed the team history. Even though I managed in the other league, I attended the World Series in 1982, 1985, and 1987. Then you count the 16 years I managed here, plus the two afterward, I’ve been totally immersed in everything about the Cardinals.”

A special Cardinals Hall of Fame Weekend is being planned for mid-August.

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