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David Freese declines induction into the St. Louis Cardinals’ Hall of Fame

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals

Aug 17, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Former St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese and 2011 NLCS and World Series MVP throws out a first pitch prior to a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS -- David Freese decided to decline his induction into the St. Louis Cardinals’ Hall of Fame.

The former third baseman was a postseason hero for his hometown team in helping the Cardinals win the 2011 World Series. He was chosen for the Hall of Fame by fans, garnering the most votes in online balloting for this year’s class.

But in a statement, the Cardinals said Freese recently informed them he wanted to withdraw his candidacy. That leaves José Oquendo and Max Lanier to be enshrined during ceremonies on Aug. 20.

“This is something that I have given an extreme amount of thought to, humbly, even before the voting process began. I am aware of the impact I had helping the team bring great memories to the city I grew up in, including the 11th championship, but this honor means more to me,” Freese said in the statement.

One of baseball’s most storied and successful franchises, the Cardinals count the likes of Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Rogers Hornsby and Stan Musial among members of their robust Hall of Fame.

Freese was the MVP of the 2011 World Series and NL Championship Series. He batted .397 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 18 postseason games that year.

With the Cardinals down to their final out in Game 6 of the World Series against Texas, he hit a two-run triple that tied the score in the bottom of the ninth inning. His leadoff homer in the 11th gave them a 10-9 victory that forced Game 7, which St. Louis won 6-2 with the help of Freese’s two-run double.

Freese spent his first five major league seasons with the Cardinals, hitting .286 with 44 homers, 237 RBIs and a .783 OPS. He was traded to the Los Angeles Angels, and later played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I look at who I was during my tenure, and that weighs heavily on me. The Cardinals and the entire city have always had my back in every way. I’m forever grateful to be part of such an amazing organization and fan base then, now and in the future,” Freese said.

“I’m especially sorry to the fans that took the time to cast their votes. Cardinal Nation is basically the reason why I’ve unfortunately waited so long for this decision and made it more of a headache for so many people. I feel strongly about my decision and understand how people might feel about this. I get it. I’ll wear it. Thank you for always being there for me, and I am excited to be around the Cardinals as we move forward.”

The 40-year-old Freese attended St. Louis Community College and went to high school in the city’s suburbs. The Cardinals said he “plans to remain an active member of the team’s alumni activities and fan-related events.”

“Although we are disappointed that David has declined to be inducted into our Hall of Fame, we respect his decision and look forward to celebrating his great Cardinals career in other ways going forward,” Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said. “He is always welcome at Busch Stadium.”