Russ Spence

Commercial Pressure Wash Expert and PWI Admin
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).

The former Baltimore Orioles shortstop said he was both relieved and euphoric. If he had been picked by two of the eight voters who didn't select him, he would have set the percentage record -- but he didn't mind.

"All I wanted to hear was, `You're in,"' Ripken said during a conference call. "I really didn't get caught up with wanting to be unanimous or wanting to be the most."

Gwynn received 532 votes for 97.61 percent, the seventh-highest ever, also trailing Ty Cobb, George Brett and Hank Aaron.

"It's an unbelievable feeling to know that people think that what you did was worthy," Gwynn said. "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.

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. Gwynn was surprised McGwire received such a low percentage.

"I hope that as time goes on, that number will increase," Gwynn said. "I hope that one day he will get into the Hall of Fame, because I really believe he deserves it."

Ripken wouldn't give his opinion.

"I don't think it's my place to actually cast judgment," he said.

Jose Canseco, on the ballot for the first time, received six votes, well below the 5 percent threshold needed to stay on future ballots. In his book two years ago, Canseco accused McGwire and others of using steroids. The book's publication was quickly followed by a congressional hearing on steroids during which McGwire evaded questions, saying: "I'm not here to talk about the past."

Gwynn, who compiled 3,141 hits and a .338 batting average during his 20-year career with the San Diego Padres, said he was fidgety and nervous before he received the call from Jack O'Connell, the BBWAA secretary-treasurer.

"I broke down right away," he said. "My wife came over and put an arm around me."

Ripken played in a major league-record 2,632 consecutive games to break Lou Gehrig's ironman mark of 2,130, and set a new standard for shortstops with 431 home runs and 3,184 hits.

"I'm very proud of what the streak represents. Not that you were able to play in all those games, but that you showed up to play every single day," Ripken said last week.

Harold Baines, who received 29 votes, reached the 5 percent threshold. Bret Saberhagen got seven votes in his first appearance on the ballot and Ken Caminiti, who admitted using steroids during his career and died in 2004, received two.

Gwynn and Ripken raised to 43 the total of players elected in their first year of eligibility. That doesn't include Lou Gehrig (1939) and Roberto Clemente (1973), who were chosen in special elections.

Gwynn and Ripken each spent their entire major league career with one team, a rarity these days. They will be inducted during ceremonies held July 29 at the Hall in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with anyone elected from the Veterans Committee vote, which will be announced Feb. 27.

Ripken spent 21 seasons with Baltimore, hitting .276. A 19-time All-Star, he won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1982, the AL MVP award in 1983 and 1991 and was a two-time Gold Glove shortstop.

Gwynn broke into the majors in 1982 and won eight batting titles to tie Honus Wagner's NL record. He made 15 All-Star teams and won five Gold Gloves as an outfielder.


JL Pressure Washing
Way to go Ripkin & Gwynn, two real American baseball players & men Congrats!!!!

Mac oh well, take a pill

Russ Spence

Commercial Pressure Wash Expert and PWI Admin
The first Hall of Fame ballots cast in the Steroids Era, the first that we knew of or cared about, brought something like clarity.

Two men are in.

Tony Gwynn, the lifetime .338 hitter, and Cal Ripken Jr., who only played when they lined the field and let people into the ballpark, which was every day, are bystanders presumed innocent.

Many men aren't in. Goose Gossage, who came within 21 votes, Jim Rice, Jack Morris and Andre Dawson aren't. Neither is Mark McGwire, who didn't come close.

And so here we go.

It is nearly unfathomable that in the coming years 281 voters – or more than half the voting body – will change their minds, meaning, among other things, one fewer public appearance for McGwire.

This, then, was not a vote of caution. This was not a vote of torn sentiment. This was not a stall tactic, waiting on George Mitchell and his investigators. This was a vote that rejected McGwire, and should have sent chills through Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa, and even Barry Bonds.

We aren't any nearer to the truth, if that's still important. What we're standing on is perception. The Baseball Writers' Assn. of America has raised its glove to the umpire, unsure if the ball inside was caught or trapped, but selling it anyway.

So McGwire, who had the misfortune of retiring first among the Hall-worthy perceived cheaters, takes the first substantial hit. Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti drew eight votes between them and won't grace another ballot. McGwire gets to come back next year and live it again, assuming he even noticed.

I remember sitting 20 feet from McGwire that St. Patrick's Day on Capitol Hill. The reading glasses. The trembling voice that betrayed his firm posture and hard expression. The testimony. Between us sat Canseco, tan and slick and blinking hard.

During a break, I called a friend of McGwire's. "What is this?" I asked. "What is he doing?"

"The lawyers," came the answer.

Rest assured, he'll never be charged with perjury, even if all he was protecting was his privacy. But, on that afternoon, out of fear or honor or self-preservation or some uncovered motivation, he raised his hand and practically connected the dots himself.

Going on two years later, two men who once knew his glory and baseball proficiency and, occasionally, shared his very ball field, were called to the Hall. Gwynn and Ripken spoke of their fathers, both gone now. They talked about their commitment to the game, and how wonderful it was to them.

Today, and now forever, was about how wonderful they were to it, and for it. They mused about making do with what they had, or making what they had better by dedicating themselves wholly to it, Ripken the 6-foot-4, 225-pound shortstop, Gwynn the singles hitter in a long-ball world.

Listening in, you couldn't help but fit their descriptions of themselves into the context of the Steroids Era. Their words weren't all intended to be run against McGwire, or even against the steroids shadow that creeps from foul line to foul line. In fact, while Ripken made it clear the vote went fine by him, Gwynn campaigned for McGwire, and said he was surprised McGwire had not garnered even a quarter of the votes. But, still, the words fit.

"For me, it's kind of validation," Gwynn said of his own support. "The type of player I was doesn't get a lot of credit in today's game."

If he'd ever considered turning his line-drive stroke into something more, Gwynn said, the thought disappeared the day he met Ted Williams at the 1992 All-Star Game in San Diego.

"I gave him my bat and he promptly picked his teeth with it," Gwynn said, laughing. "That's when I realized."

He added, "I wanted to be me. I wanted to do the things I knew I was capable of doing. … I was comfortable with being who I am."

He had 3,141 hits, only 135 of them home runs. But he won eight batting titles and once batted .394 just being who he was, and working harder than the next guy, and accepting what came.

Feeling anxious while he awaited the telephone call that would confirm his Hall inclusion, Ripken headed for momentary seclusion in a shower. A faulty water heater made it a cold one. As he gasped, Ripken said, he was reminded of his first months in professional baseball, when there was never enough hot water for a full roster.

"So I was sitting there," Ripken said, "remembering the cold-shower days. … What it felt like to start out. The potential you hope to achieve."

He'd have 3,184 hits, 431 of them home runs. He'd play, of course, in 2,632 consecutive games. He'd win two MVPs and a World Series.

"I had to operate off the skills I had," he said, "or the talent I was given."

And so three decades after they started, the oversized shortstop and the chunky outfielder shared the day while somewhere -- perhaps in Newport Beach, Calif., perhaps on a golf course -- McGwire had been left out by a landslide that's still raising dust.

"I think he's a Hall of Famer," Gwynn said.

He said McGwire was "innocent until proven guilty." He said, "We all knew [about the infiltration of steroids]. All y'all knew." He said McGwire, "put this game on his back and carried it."

Given the same platform, Ripken said he would wait for the facts.

"Unfortunately, all of the stories haven't been told yet," he said. "I'm for the stories being told. … There's probably a lot more stuff that's due to come out."

So it appears McGwire's 583 career home runs – 70 of them in one season, 135 of them in consecutive seasons – will rest in limbo between baseball's lore and his conscience. In his first moment of eligibility, he has become either a victim of the era or a man cornered. Either way, he is not a Hall of Famer, not today, and by the looks of things, not ever.

So there will be two men on the Cooperstown stage, not three. And no one will ask them to raise their hands. And they will be there to talk about their pasts.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Gwynn said, "to know that people think what you did was worthy."

Clean County PW

Active member
For all the records that Barry has or will be broken he will be forever known as a cheat and because of this he will probably not be a first team hall of famer which will be an embarrasment for him the only 7 time MVP. The hatred will just keep building against that man because of what he did with the roids and making his childhood friend/Trainer sit in the slammer for him. What a disgrace.

Barry is going to have much bigger problems then all of this..His Skull has gotten so much larger..If I was him I'd be scared out of my sox about all the health issues he;s going to face. He'll wake up oneday and see his shrunken manhood laying there on the floor...What an idiot and what a waste since he was so naturaly gifted to start out with..Say it aint so Barry..oh wait he already said that...LIER!!!!

Russ Spence

Commercial Pressure Wash Expert and PWI Admin
yep, you can look back and see the difference throughout the years ,its like watching him evolve