I've been waiting for this day for along time. Today Cal Ripken Jr. was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Not that there was ever much doubt, mind you, as most of the suspense was tied up in seeing if he or Tony Gwynn could become the first players to ever be inducted with 100% of the vote.
This is partly because there are some people who feel like they get to play judge and jury with their vote. Take Paul Ladewski of the Daily Southtown in suburban Chicago, who was one of two writers to send in a blank ballot. He said he couldn't vote with a clear mind without knowing all the truth about the "steriods era." Never mind that in Ripken's second MVP season he was third in the league with 34 homers.
That's for a full season kids, not by the all star break. Not to mention that steroids tend to cause nagging little injurys that keep a player out of games from time to time (See Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds). Today, I'm not even bothered by the haters out there who say that Cal wouldn't have been a hall of famer with out his streak. Note that a lot of these people are Yankee fans who were pissed that he broke a Yankee record. The rest seem to be Philly fans who are all just pissy in general. I think Jason Stark of ESPN said it best when he said: "The fact is, though, that Cal Ripken would be a Hall of Famer whether he'd played in two games in a row or 2,000 in a row. That streak made him an icon, but he was already a Hall of Famer. The streak was just a frame around a great career."
I'm looking forward to the day this summer when Inky, XL and I pack up our stuff and make the treck to Cooperstown to see two unique players get inducted into the hall. Gwynn, like Ripken played all of his seasons for one team, and that team was his home team, again also like Ripken. When are you going to see that again? Sure Derrik Jeter may play his entire career for the Yankees (which is still an acomplishment these days) but he's not from New York.