He made highlight reel catches. He robbed home runs that no one could imagine. And his home runs sent shockwaves through stadiums across MLB. And he is considered one of the best center-fielders of all time, and he has a long list of memorable moments under his belt.
We’re talking about none other than Cardinal Hall of Famer Jim Edmonds.
Edmonds was selected in the seventh round of the 1988 draft, and officially made his Major League debut on September 9th, 1993 for the California Angels. As a member of the Angels, Edmonds won two Gold Glove awards (1997, 1998), and also was an All-Star in 1995.
During his seven-year career with the Angels, he notched 768 hits (121 of them were home runs), scored 408 RBI’s, and had a batting average of .290, already showcasing his consistency at the plate.
In 2000, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, and Edmonds picked up right where he left off in California.
He immediately made an impact, playing in 152 games, where he hit 42 home runs, notched 108 RBI’s and finished with a .295 batting average. Over the next three seasons, Edmonds continued his dominate streak, forming an unstoppable trio with Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen. The three were nicknamed “MV3” for their historic seasonal accomplishments, and some argue all three should be in the Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done.
And by far, Edmonds’ best career season came in 2004. That season, in which the Cardinals won 105 games, Edmonds hit .301, had a .643 slugging percentage, 42 HRs, and 111 RBI; all but batting average were career highs. As a result, he earned a Silver Slugger Award, a Gold Glove Award, and was fifth in the voting for the Most Valuable Player Award.
In the postseason, he continued to be an critical component of the team. But it was his performance in the NLCS against the Houston Astros that will forever be a part of Cardinals history. With the Astros leading the series 3-2, and Game 6 in the bottom of the 12th tied at 4-4, Edmonds launched a two-run home run deep into right field, sending the series to the definitive Game 7, where he once again played a huge role. It was a running diving catch in the outfield that helped seal the win for St. Louis, as Cardinal Nation went crazy.
And despite injuries hampering him (as well as the rest of the team that year), Edmonds was crucial to the Cardinals winning the 2006 World Series, their first championship since 1982.
On December 14, 2007, Edmonds was traded to the San Diego Padres in exchange for a young prospect by the name of David Freese. The Cardinals also agreed to pay part of Edmonds’ 2008 salary. His time with the Padres was short lived, and he soon found himself a member of the Cardinals heated rival… the Chicago Cubs.
His final three years found him on three different National League Central teams (Cubs, Reds, Brewers).
An eight-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field, Edmonds finished his 17-year career with a .284/.376/.527 slash line, 393 home runs, 1,949 hits, four trips to the All-Star Game, a Silver Slugger Award and a World Series championship, with the Cardinals in 2006.
His career WAR score of 60.3 is higher than that of several Hall of Fame center fielders that are immortalized in Cooperstown, including the late Kirby Puckett (50.9). In 10 of his 17 seasons, he hit 25 or more home runs. and four seasons he notched over 100 RBI’s.
Unfortunately for him, he only received 2.5% of votes when he first appeared on the ballot. Players need 5% of votes to remain on the ballot. The lack of voter support was met with instant backlash from Angels and Cardinals fans alike, who believe Edmonds has quite the resume for it.
Eventually, the Veterans Committee will have a chance to look at Edmonds’ case, and they’ll decide.
Feel free to discuss below if you feel Edmonds is deserving of induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)