Missing the Mark
Jan. 9: Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn top the list for Cooperstown's Hall of Fame, but for slugger Mark McGwire it's a swing and a miss. MSNBC.com's Dara Brown has the story.
Bill Shannon of Sports Press Service, who also does freelance writing for The Associated Press, omitted Ripken and Gwynn because he wanted to vote for 10 other players — the maximum allowed.
“I thought they were such obvious candidates they didn’t need my vote,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking in terms of a 100 percent.”
Ripken, a 19-time All-Star and two-time AL MVP, played in a major league-record 2,632 consecutive games to break Lou Gehrig’s mark of 2,130. He also set a new standard for power-hitting shortstops with 431 home runs and 3,184 hits.
His hot-water heater didn’t work Tuesday morning, making him laugh and recall starting his pro career at Bluefield in 1978.
“I was sitting there remembering the cold-shower days,” Ripken said.
Gwynn, a 15-time All-Star, compiled 3,141 hits and a .338 batting average during his 20-year career with the San Diego Padres. He woke up at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, couldn’t get back to sleep and was fidgety and nervous before he received the call from Jack O’Connell, the BBWAA secretary-treasurer.
“I broke down right away,” Gwynn said. “My wife came over and put an arm around me.”
Gwynn hit only 135 homers — matching McGwire’s total in 1998 and 1999 — and joked that he’d be the “Punch and Judy” spokesman for the next few months.
“For me, it’s kind of validation because the type of player that I was doesn’t get a whole lot of credit in today’s game,” he said. “I didn’t win any championships. I didn’t hit a whole lot of home runs. I didn’t drive in a whole lot of people.”
Gossage finished third with 388 votes, falling 21 shy of the necessary 409. His percentage increased from 64.6 to 71.2, putting him in good position to reach the necessary 75 percent next year. The highest percentage for a player who wasn’t elected in a later year was 63.4 by Gil Hodges in 1983, his final time on the ballot.
“It kind of feels weird to be that close,” Gossage said. “Hopefully, next year will be the year.”
Rice was fourth with 346, his percentage dropping to 63.5 from 64.8 last year. He was followed by Andre Dawson (309), Bert Blyleven (260), Lee Smith (217) and Jack Morris (202).
McGwire was ninth, followed by Tommy John (125) and Steve Garvey (115), who was in his final year of eligibility. Jose Canseco, who accused McGwire of using steroids, received six votes in his first appearance and will be dropped from future ballots.
Pete Rose, the banned career hits leader who has never appeared on the ballot, received four write-in votes.
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Jan 9: The cloud of steroids has its first victim, at least in terms of immortality, with the Hall of Fame election results revealed today, and McGwire falling remarkably short. Keith Olbermann discusses with T.J. Quinn of the Daily News.
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