Boys in the Hall

Like baseball fans everywhere, I eagerly awaited the press conference at 11 AM Arizona time when the newest inductees to the Hall of Fame would be announced. It has been reported as a foregone conclusion that Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn would be included in the 2007 class. The bigger question on everyone’s mind would be whether candidates such as Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco could garner enough votes to be included. Personally, I want to meet the guy who thought Jose Canseco would get enough votes to get in. Maybe if we were talking about tabloid journalism author hall of fame he had a chance but seriously what 10 year baseball writer would honestly mark the box next to Jose Canseco’s name giving his Hall of Fame candidacy validity? When the vote tally was announced, Canseco had 6 votes which I think is just shy of the 75 percent needed for all induction unless of course there were only 8 voters then I stand corrected and congratulate him on his accomplishments.

For Gwynn and Ripken, the vote went just as planned with each making the necessary 75 percent with ease. Gwynn was identified on 97 percent of the ballots while Ripken received the third highest percentage in the history of the Hall of Fame being named on 98.53 percent. This number ranks just below Tom Seaver (98.83) and Nolan Ryan (98.79). While I am not sure I would personally rank the Iron Man as equal to Tom Terriffic and the Express, he does deserve the hall. The steroid era backlash did take its toll on first year candidates other than the big two. McGwire received 128 votes for a percentage of 23.48. Only McGwire and Harold Baines received enough votes to carry them forward to subsequent years.

The hall voters again overlooked Rich Gossage, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, and Dale Murphy. Of this group only Gossage saw his vote total increase from last year. Receiving 388 votes Gossage was a mere 21 votes shy of getting into the Hall of Fame. Perhaps it was those same 6 jokers who voted for Canseco that keep the Goose out. Perennial fan favorite Dale Murphy received 50 votes for a 9.17 percent. This was just above the mandatory 5 percent number to allow his candidacy to continue next year. Hopefully with a concerted effort by the fans coupled with a small 2008 candidate class Dale will finally get a well deserved call. Rather than crying for the losers, baseball will spend the next 6 weeks giving deserved accolades to Gwynn and Ripken as the Hall of Fame class of 2007. Here’s to you Butterball and Iron Man!

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