Jim Edmonds: A Hall of Famer in my book

Whether Jim Edmonds was a Hall of Famer is up for discussion. Getting tossed off the ballot after just one season is a voting injustice.

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Jim Edmonds won’t get another shot at the Hall of Fame. After receiving a terribly low amount of votes(2.5 percent, needed 5 to stay on another year) in his first year of eligibility, Edmonds won’t get next year or the year after that. It’s a shame. Edmonds deserves a discussion or at least another chance to be considered.

I’ll admit I am bias. I watched all of Edmonds’ golden years at Busch Stadium from behind the Manual Scoreboard at old Busch. He was a unique and game changing player. He didn’t have the lofty 3,000 hits, 500 home runs or multiple World Series wins that voters covet or look for. Edmonds did plenty in his 17 year career.

He slugged .527 and compiled an average WAR(wins above replacement) of 3.5 over his career, which included six teams, mostly spent with the Angels and Cardinals. He won eight gold gloves and made four All Star game appearances. He changed the way center field could be played, hovering in shallow center and being able to cover a ton of ground by the time he dove into the grass making an unbelievable catch.

Edmonds was elite for an extended period of time with the Cardinals from 2000-2005, compiling an average WAR of 6.1 and winning six straight gold gloves while slugging 30 or more home runs in four of those seasons. With St. Louis, his OPS was .947 over 8 seasons and .856 over 7 seasons with Anaheim.

He wasn’t a playoff slouch. Edmonds hit 13 home runs and drove in 42 runs with 16 doubles while slugging .551 in 64 playoff games. He made the miraculous diving catch off a Brad Ausmus line drive and hit the game winning home run in Game 6 against Houston in the 2004 World Series. Edmonds had several historic moments and a swing that wasn’t as pretty as Ken Griffey Jr.’s but still effective and compact.

Edmonds is far from a Hall of Fame lock. He always has been a long shot. His 393 home runs won’t woo many. His 1199 RBI’s won’t gather a crowd. His 1,949 hits won’t make anybody’s jaw drop. He did deserve another couple of years of discussion and debate.

He made people stop and think. What makes a career Hall of Fame worthy? Is it a prolonged excellence? An overall solid piece of work, perhaps? Or, do you take a player who was excellent for two different periods of time with two different clubs in two different leagues? Edmonds was great from 1995-98 with the Angels but stellar from 2000-2005 with the Cardinals. Doesn’t that deserve more than a year of consideration?

Edmonds signed a minor league contract with the Cardinals after the 2010 season, but retired in February before spring training unfolded. He was 40 and his body was done. He wanted to give it one last go and try to reach 400 home runs, 2000 hits and add more polish to his career. While it may have added a few more long balls to his career, it could have showed an Edmonds that wasn’t as useful or fun to watch. It does make you think. If healthy, could Edmonds have done better than Colby Rasmus and Jon Jay in 2011? We will never know.

Know this. Edmonds had a HOF caliber career. Far from a lock but nearly as distant from a one and done, he was a signature player who left his mark. Years from now. Decades from now. Fathers and mothers will tell their kids about that lefty who cranked meaningful home runs, stole others from over the wall and created dazzling moments. Edmonds is a better ballplayer than at least 2 or 3 of the centerfielders currently in the Hall of Fame, right?

Edmonds deserved better from the voters. Better than 2.5 percent. He was a Hall of Famer in my book.

(In case you missed it on KSDK)

Missing my friend Troy Siade

Every August 14th, I remember my good friend Troy. He would have been 50 today.

I don’t get sentimental here often. I try to post 50 regular articles for every semi sentimental or personal piece. However, today I am going to talk about my late friend Troy Siade.

Manual Scoreboard
Manual Scoreboard- Manual scoreboard operators Troy Siade, left, and Danny Buffa take in the Cardinals-Giants game from their favorite spot behind the manual scoreboard at Busch Stadium Wednesday night.

Troy Siade would have been 50 years old today. He was an Italian prince in a white t-shirt and short blue jean shorts that made the manual scoreboard a place to be. You could have been as cold as the North Pole, and Troy would make you laugh. He had a way of cutting though the bullshit in life and made you happy to be around him. He would bust my chops because I was like a younger brother to him. I took it in spades and with a fair measure of pride. There were days where an hour would go by on the board and we would just give each other shit or bust each other’s balls while mixing in serious things to talk about. With Troy, it all came free and easy. 

I’ll never forget him driving our supervisor Joe Graman crazy by hitting on his pretty daughter when she came to visit the board. Joe was a military veteran so Troy would go all the way down to the National League or a decent distance from Joe and say something like, “Man, I just want to settle down, marry a girl, whose dad has a boat.” Yes, Joe had a boat. Troy would cut the tension in the room like a knife would slice through a warm slab of butter. He was fearless, hilarious and treated his friends like family.

I’ll never forget him getting sensual with a picture of Art Holliday in a suite at Busch after a game. He gave cocky flamboyance a brand new name every night downtown. Troy would walk down the ramp at Busch and say out loud, “Hey ladies, I drive a JAGUAARRRRR!” and “Man it sucks being RICH!” All a friend could do was laugh. You had to dig the guy. He was a one of a kind.

I looked up to him like the older brother I was deprived of during those days. Every year since he has been gone I feel this pain some nights when the Cards win big or a Jim Edmonds highlight is shown. Every August 14th I get my ass kicked emotionally and I hide it well because no one needs to see a bearded bald dude cry. I just miss him and wish he was still here.

The saddest thing in life is regret. A little while before he passed, Troy surprised my wife Rachel and I for a dinner. It was out of the blue and caught me off guard. We had previous plans with my parents and you don’t break those off. So we turned him down. I wish I would have brought him along. My dad and the two of us may have been asked to leave the restaurant because of how loud we would have gotten, but it would have been worth the trouble. Troy talked a lot, just like me. Nobody could shut him up. They couldn’t contain him. Only hope to try. That’s why I loved him. There are certain people you meet in life that you can be your 100 percent self around. Troy was one of them.

As humans we always think we have more time. That there will be another time. It’s a flaw. With Troy, there wasn’t. He got sick soon afterwards with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and was gone soon afterwards. He would die before his 39th birthday on April 23rd, 2004. That shiny black hair gone and that unbreakable spirit somewhat tinted.

I just wish I had more time. I just wish I had more time with my friend. My brother from another mother. Someone who never made me feel the need to change or watch what I say.

Just another reminder that Cancer really fucking sucks.

Rest in peace my good friend. Troy would have loved to watch this moment from his favorite player, Jim Edmonds.