(Busch Stadium) After delivering heartfelt thanks in their induction speeches at Ballpark Village, new St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Famers Jason Isringhausen and Scott Rolen made their way across the street for more pregame festivities. In traditional fashion, the pair were driven around the warning track to wave at fans before they officially took their place with the rest of the greats wearing red jackets at home plate.
“I don’t think I’m going to get the gist of it for a few years,” Isringhausen shared afterwards. “It’s just been very surreal. To be able to be on that same ‘boys club’ with the guys that are on that stage with those red coats is pretty special. We don’t compare ourselves to the guys who came before us, but it’s going to be fun when some other guys from our generation get up there too and we have a nice little group up of guys and it’s going to be a nice reunion every year.”
Voted by the fans from the Modern Era portion of the ballot, Isringhausen and Rolen were inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame with the late Mort Cooper, who was chosen by a selection panel and the team.
“We can’t come up with new ways to thank the fans,” Rolen said. “We can’t come up with new ways to say how great the organization is and the fans are. We want to. We want to be great, we truly appreciate it–it’s not taken for granted. It’s not lost on us what this means, to be able to wear this jacket with all those guys sitting behind you and the tradition of this organization. Maybe I put it into words right there, but I wasn’t looking for words because I’ve been looking for words for months now and couldn’t find them.”
“Like I said in my speech, I didn’t start playing baseball because I wanted a red coat,” Isringhausen said. “It was just to play baseball. I grew up watching those guys that were behind me. They wanted me to love baseball. I kept doing it and kept doing it. In my job, you’re either one or the other–there is no in-between. You’re either great or bad. For the fans to vote me in for this honor, it’s just kind of full circle. Great feeling.”
Both Isringhausen and Rolen were accompanied by their children as they made the ride around the ballpark, which only added to the “best day” of his baseball life.
“Being able to share with them too is awesome,” Isringhausen said. “It’s just all–it was all worth it. You wondered some days why you did it. You’re always gone from your family. I mean, the money’s great but at the end of the day, what’s that really give you? To finally be able to, for it all to come back around–you’re in the same lump as, you’re in the fraternity of Lou, Gibby, Stan, Red, the list goes on and on and on. I grew up watching Willie, Ozzie, Vince, Whitey. I’m part of the same club as them now? It’s pretty special.”
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI