Both Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn have been inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. Both players made it into the Hall of Fame on their first try and both received some of the highest vote percentages in history, Ripken coming in third and Gwynn coming in seventh on the charts.
There was one player who, due to his involvement with steroids, did not make it despite his formidable record. This player is the home run legend Mark McGwire.
Cal “Iron Man” Ripken Jr. was famed for his hard work attitude as well as his record breaking 2,632 games played.
Ripken had played for 59 seasons, an impressive number for a second round pick out of high school.
Although he was a baseball mainstay, he is most remembered for his contributions as a short stop.
Ripken had taken the position away from an eight time Golden Glove winner in a time that most people believed that short stop was not meant for tall people.
Ripken’s first award came in ’82 when he won the Rookie of the Year award for nailing 28 home runs in a single year. This award was just the beginning as the next year would show.
In 1983 Ripken would earn his first All Star appearance, an achievement that he would repeat another 18 times for a total of 19 All Star appearances.
Also that year, Ripken would receive the Most Valuable Player award when he lead the Baltimore Orioles to a victory in the World Series by batting .317, whacking 27 balls out of the park, and gaining 102 RBIs.
Ripken would continue to dominate by sending at least 20 balls out into the parking lot each season and continuing his reign as short stop.
He would earn the Golden Glove in 1991, showing that he was also a force to be reckoned with out on the field.
Tony Gwynn was a big figure at San Diego State. Everyone knew that he would make ripples in his sport. The question is how a point guard from San Diego State, and later a San Diego Clipper’s draft pick, wound up in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
After a brief stint in basketball, Gwynn decided it was time to try his hand at one of his favorite sports, baseball. Gwynn made it in by the bare skin on his teeth, being selected by the San Diego Padres as a third round draft pick.
The complete opposite of Michael Jordan, when it came to baseball, Gwynn was a golden player. With his golden bat, which made 3,141 hits in 20 seasons, in one hand, Golden Glove in the other hand, and a golden smile to top it all off, Gwynn was on the fast track to the Hall of Fame.
Gwynn would go on to make 15 All Star appearances, and obtain 8 batting titles. Gwynn would also garnish a career batting average of .338, an average topped only by Ted Williams who had a career average of .344.
Gwynn’s only weakness was the long ball. After 20 seasons in baseball, Gwynn left with 135 home runs. Gwynn himself said that hitting the ball out of the park wasn’t what landed him in the baseball Hall of Fame, it was his consistency at bat.
Mark McGwire, also on the list for possible Hall of Fame status, was denied. Alone, his home run record would have been enough to kick down the doors and walk into the Hall of Fame, but his dealings with steroids were clearly an issue.
When McGwire went to Washington for the senate hearings, his fellow players had lied to the court about their involvement. McGwire, on the other hand, refused to talk about the matter and avoided any mention of steroids. Perhaps his refusal to cooperate will bar him from ever getting into the Hall of Fame.
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