Scott Rolen, one of three new members of the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame announced Friday night on Fox Sports Midwest, was driving his daughter from the Bloomington, Ind., area to Louisville for a volleyball tournament when he started to take part in a conference call.
Rolen spoke for a few moments about 2019 fellow inductee Jason Isringhausen, a longtime teammate, when he said he had to get off the call. The Indiana state police had just pulled him over.
When he resumed his participation, Rolen said he had been told by the officer that he was going 59 in a 45 mph zone.
“You asked me how excited I was — and I just answered it,” cracked Rolen.
Third baseman Rolen and reliever Isringhausen, both prominent members of the Cardinals’ World Series championship team of 2006, will be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame on Aug. 24 at Ballpark Village, along with deceased righthander Mort Cooper. Cooper starred for Cardinals World Series championship clubs in 1942 and 1944.
Rolen and Isringhausen were chosen by fan balloting from a group also consisting of Keith Hernandez, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria and John Tudor. Those six were selected by a Red Ribbon committee including media members and Hall of Fame managers Tony La Russa and Whitey Herzog. That same committee selected Cooper into the Cardinals’ Hall on the veterans’ side.
Rolen played six seasons for the Cardinals from 2002-07 and hit .286 with 111 homers and 453 runs batted in over 661 games. He won four Gold Gloves and was named a National League All-Star four times in that span.
Isringhausen said, “Scottie embodied the true Cardinal way of playing baseball.”
A Cardinal from 2002-08, Isringhausen holds the club record for saves at 217, featuring his National League-leading total of 47 in 2004 when the Cardinals also went to the World Series. He was an NL All-Star in 2005.
Rolen said Isringhausen was a game changer, noting that Izzy threw anywhere from 95 to 97 mph with a cutter. Additionally, Rolen joked that “He’s just big enough and dumb enough to go out there and not care.
“When you handed him that ball, the game’s over. To be able to take three outs of the game like he was able to do was a huge, huge part of winning.”
For both players, the Hall of Fame honor had great meaning.
Isringhausen, a minor league pitching instructor with the Cardinals, said, “This is the light at the end of the tunnel. This is something that nobody can take away from me, no matter what happens. One day, to have my kids be able to walk through that Hall of Fame, or my grandkids and say, ‘That was grandpa.’ That’s pretty special.”
Rolen, now affiliated with the Indiana University baseball program, said the two competed as hard as they could “and all of a sudden, when it’s all said and done and we’re old and look terrible, they’re handing us red jackets. Wow. It really paid off.”
Cooper, who was here from 1938-45, won 20 or more games in each season from 1942-44 when the Cardinals played in three successive World Series. A two-time All-Star, Cooper was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1942 after leading the league in wins at 22 and earned run average at 1.78.
WACHA ON TAP FOR MONDAY START
Michael Wacha, who suffered some left knee tendinitis after a recent workout, expects to come off the 10-day injured list on Monday to start at Washington. Wacha threw his normal bullpen session on Friday. And it was normal
This was the first time Wacha had thrown to any extent since he was hurt just more than a week ago. “Getting all that swelling out of there. . . I’m feeling a lot better,” said Wacha.
Wacha said he had knee tendinitis before “but usually been my other knee. It’s just graced me with the left side this time.”
Had this injury occurred late in the season, Wacha said he probably could have made his most recent scheduled start.
O’NEILL BACK, THOMAS OUT
Tyler O’Neill had one hit (a homer) in 11 at-bats at Class AA Springfield on a medical rehabilitation option and played all three outfield positions without incident although he didn’t have to throw anybody out. In all, there was enough to see for the Cardinals to feel confident in removing O’Neill from the IL, where he had resided with a nerve issue in his right elbow.
Lane Thomas, who was four for 10 with a homer and a stolen base, was sent back to Class AAA Memphis.
“Lane did great,” said manager Mike Shildt. “All his skill sets played. He played nice defense. He took good at-bats and ran the bases well.”
SHILDT STANDS PAT IN OUTFIELD
Riding a winning streak of five games, achieved mostly with the same lineup, Shildt continued to play, Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler and Jose Martinez, in the outfield, and sat Harrison Bader again on Friday.
“The lineup’s flowed well,” said Shildt. “We’ve scored runs. That’s a big part of how you shake hands at the end of the game. You can’t ignore that.”