NEW YORK – A native of the St. Louis area and someone familiar with the rich history of the Cardinals’ organization, David Freese has always felt a little uncomfortable when he meets the franchise’s other legendary players, even though he did author a playoff performance for the ages in 2011.
Although fans deemed Freese deserving of a place among the St. Louis greats by being elected to the Cardinals Hall of Fame earlier this year by fan vote, he said he felt unworthy of such a distinction so soon after his appointment. Accordingly, Freese has informed the team in recent days that he will refuse election to the Franchise Hall of Fame. Freese is set to induct the Cardinals Hall of Fame along with player/coach/coach Jose Oquendo and former pitcher Max Lanier on August 19, but now only the latter two will be inducted.
“This is something I thought about a lot, humbly, even before the voting process started,” Friese said in a statement. “I am aware of the impact you have had in helping the team bring great memories to the city I grew up in, including the 11th Championship, but this honor means a lot to me.
“Look at who I’ve been through my work [Cardinals] In office, this weighs heavily on me. The Cardinals and the whole city have always had my back in everything. I am eternally grateful to be a part of such an amazing organization and fan base then, now and in the future. I’m especially sorry for the fans who took the time to cast their votes.
“Cardinal Nation is the primary reason why I have sadly waited so long for this decision and made it such a headache for so many people. I feel so strongly about my decision and I understand how people might feel about it. I get it. I’ll wear it. Thank you for always being there for me, and I’m excited to be around Cardinals as we move forward.”
Freese, who went to high school in Wildwood, Mo. Community College of Kirkwood, Mo. , the biggest World Series home run in team history when his blast pushed the Cardinals past the Rangers in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. With two innings left, Freese had a two-run, triple-play in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. Freese is one of only nine players in NL/AL history to be named the World Series and LCS Most Valuable Player in the same year.
In his career with the Cardinals from 2009-13, Freese slashed 0.286/.356/.427 (.783 OPS) with 81 doubles, 44 home runs and 237 RBIs in 466 games. In 2012, Freese hit career highs of 20 homers and 79 RBI while batting . 293 and earning his only career All-Star Game.
Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III said that while he was disappointed by Freese’s refusal of the Hall invitation, he understood the former third man’s discomfort with the honor.
“Although we are disappointed that David declined to be inducted into our Hall of Fame, we respect his decision and look forward to celebrating his amazing Cardinals career in other ways moving forward,” DeWitt said. “He is always welcome at Busch Stadium.”
In addition to inducting Oquendo and Lanier on August 19, St. Louis also plans to honor Scott Rolen, a Cardinals Hall of Famer and newly elected Baseball Hall of Famer. Rolen, part of the Cards’ 2006 World Series Championship team, announced in the spring that his plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame would be adorned with a Cardinals cap.
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