Baseball: Ripken and Gwynn in, McGwire left out
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 9, 2007
NEW YORK — Mark McGwire fell far short in his first try for the Hall of Fame, picked by 23.5 percent of voters while Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. easily gained baseball’s highest honor.
Tarnished by accusations of steroid use, McGwire appeared on 128 of a record 545 ballots in voting released Tuesday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Ripken was picked by 537 voters and appeared on 98.53 percent of ballots to finish with the third-highest percentage behind Tom Seaver (98.84) and Nolan Ryan (98.79).
Gwynn received 532 votes for 97.6 percent, the seventh-highest ever.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to know that people think that what you did was worthy,” Gwynn said during a conference call. “For me, it’s kind of validation. The type of player that I was doesn’t get a whole lot of credit in today’s game.”
Goose Gossage finished third with 388 votes, falling 21 shy of the necessary 409 for election. Jim Rice was fourth with 346, 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.
McGwire’s dismal showing raises doubts about whether he will ever get elected — players can appear on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years — and whether the shadow of steroids will cost Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro places in Cooperstown.
“I think it’s a big, dark cloud, obviously, that’s hanging over the game,” Gossage told ESPN.
McGwire finished with 583 home runs, seventh on the career list, and hit 70 homers in 1998 to set the season record, a mark Bonds broke three years later.
“I think I would vote for him,” Gwynn has said. “I think I would vote for a lot of those guys who are considered.”