Ironman Cal Ripken, Jr. and slugger Tony Gwynn are heading to Cooperstown.

Baseball Hall of Fame President Dale Petrosky announced today on Major League Baseball’s Web site that Ripken and Gwynn were elected to the Hall of Fame. It was the first year on the ballot for the men who both played their entire careers for one team — Ripken for the Orioles and Gwynn for the Padres.

Out of 545 ballots, Ripken received 537, or 98.5 percent, and Gwynn received 532 votes, or 97.6 percent. Players needed to receive 409 votes, or 75 percent, to be elected. Ripken has the third highest percentage of all-time, behind Tom Seaver’s 98.83 in 1992 and Nolan Ryan’s 98.79 percent in 1999.

Ripken is best known for breaking Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 consecutive games played, a feat many thought impossible. Ripken played every day, most of which he played the entire game, through injuries and illness. On Sept. 6, 2005, Ripken hit a home run in the fourth inning and received a 21-minute standing ovation in the middle of the fifith inning when the game was official. He ran a victory lap, shaking hands with fans along the way. The streak ended on Sept. 20, 1998, a day on which he received another standing ovation.

In 2000, Ripken joined the exclusive 3,000 hit club. He also made 19 All-Star appearances and received two MVP awards during his 21 years in major league baseball.

Gwynn, known as the “pride and joy of San Diego”, is one of the greatest players in franchise history. His record includes 3,141 hits, 15 All-Star apperances, eight batting titles and finishing in the top 10 for 15 consecutive seasons. He also received two Gold Gloves for his work as right-fielder and seven Silver Sluggers for his hitting. Gwynn’s career batting average was .338, the best in baseball since fellow Padres Ted Williams’ .344 when he retired in 1960.

Ripken and Gwynn will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 29. Hall of Fame officials say they expect a record 55,000 fans to attend the ceremony.

Out of the 15 first-timerson the ballot, only two others received enough votes to remain on the ballot next year: Mark McGwire with 128 votes or 23.5 percent and Harold Baines with 29 votes or 5.3 percent. Players had to receive 5 percent to stay on the ballot. McGwire had been considered a “shoe-in” before being accused of using steroids. Some baseball writers say the allegations could result in McGwire never being elected.

Fifteen players received fewer than 5 percent of the vote and will not appear again on the ballot. They are: Orel Hershiser, who received 24 votes; Albert Belle, who received 19 votes; Paul O’Neill, who received 12 votes; Bret Saberhagen, who received seven votes; Jose Canseco, who received six votes; Tony Fernandez, who received four votes; Dante Bichette and Eric Davis who each received three votes; Bobby Bonilla and Ken Caminiti, who each received two votes; Jay Buhner, who received one vote; and Scott Brosius, Wally Joyner, Devon White and Bobby Witt, who received no votes.


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