A miserable season by the St. Louis Cardinals just got more embarrassing. Former Cardinals third baseman and postseason hero David Freese declined induction into the team’s Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Freese was set to receive the honor after Cardinals fans voted him into the team Hall of Fame in May. Freese was supposed to be inducted with long-time Cardinals pitcher Max Lanier and beloved utility man and coach José Oquendo.
Of that group, Freese spent the least amount of time with the franchise. Freese played five seasons in St. Louis. He hit .286/.356/.427, with 44 home runs, over that period, making one All-Star team. Freese’s contributions went beyond his regular-season numbers, however. He turned in a fantastic postseason in 2011, hitting .397, with five home runs and 21 RBI. That performance helped the Cardinals win the World Series. Freese was named the World Series MVP.
Freese attempted to explain his decision in a statement to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Freese said he considered it a great honor, and still has fond memories of his time with the Cardinals, but ultimately declined the induction.
He also apologized to fans who took the time to vote for him.
The Cardinals confirmed the news, saying Freese informed the team he did not want to be inducted into its Hall of Fame. Team president Bill DeWitt III said the team was disappointed, but respected Freese’s decision.
Though Freese declined, the team will still induct Lanier and Oquendo into its Hall of Fame on Aug. 20. The team will also hold a ceremony for former third baseman Scott Rolen, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, on Aug. 19.
The news comes as the Cardinals are mired in a midst of a terrible season. The team is just 27-43 entering Saturday and sits in last place in the National League Central. Poor pitching and the decision to temporarily move $87.5 million free-agent signing Willson Contreras out of the catcher spot have defined the team’s struggles in 2023.
Freese’s decision adds further disappointment in a year Cardinals fans already want to forget.