Officials at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. plan to announce this year’s inductees tomorrow afternoon, and Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres are expected to be on their way to joining the rest of baseball’s best.

Ripken and Gwyn are among 17 first-timers on the Hall of Fame ballot. According to Hall of Fame magazine, news outlets are reporting that Ripken did not receive 100 percent of the votes, as some had speculated he would. Some expected him to be the first unanimous inductee, while others said he wouldn’t after Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were elected without 100 percent of the vote.

Ripken probably will be remembered most for breaking Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 consecutive games. The streak ended at 2,632 games. He played all of his 21 season with the Orioles, beginning at shortstop and moving toward the end of his career to third base. He played in 19 All-Star games, received two MVP awards and more than 36 million All-Star ballot votes, making him the all-time leader.

Gwynn, like Ripken, played his entire career for one team, the Padres. He is a 15-time All-Star and is known as one of the most consistent players for contact ever to play the game. His average never fell below .309, and he only struck out 434 times in 9,288 at-bats.

Another first-time player on the ballot, St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire, has been the subject of controversy and scrutiny regarding his use of steroids. According to reports, fans who once thought McGwire was a shoe-in like Ripken and Gwynn now think he won’t make the Hall. Mike Celizic, a writer for msnbc.com, says McGwire will never make it into the Hall of Fame. In a recent column, Celizic says about a poll shows that 20 percent of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who vote for the inductees say they never intend to vote for McGwire. Celzic says he expected voters to boycott McGwire this year, but eventually elect him in the next few years. Whether or not McGwire should be elected into the Hall of Fame is being debated as he used steroids at a time when it wasn’t illegal in baseball.

“But never voting for him is the worst kind of revisionist thinking,” Celzic said. “McGwire did what he did according to the rules at the time he played. Baseball didn’t object to steroids; the game didn’t even mention that they could be a problem.”

The results of the vote for the 2007 Baseball Hall of Fame induction will be announced live tomorrow at 2 p.m. on the Hall of Fame’s Web site.

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