- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — 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.”

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