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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tainting the Hall

With so much heavy news to absorb with the president's new Iraqi troop "surge'' and three high school students among four dead in a Freehold Township motor vehicle accident, it's comforting to move on to lighter fare. But even there, it's not so easy.

For a journalist who's an avid baseball fan, it was disappointing to read that two most deserving former players, Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn, being named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility was overshadowed in most stories by the paltry vote - 23.5 percent - garnered by another first-timer, Mark McGwire. That the voting writers snubbed the home-run hitter linked to performance-enhancing drugs was the story, so many of my print-media colleagues decided.

That's a shame. Ripken, a power-hitting shortstop with record-setting longevity, and Gwynn, the best pure hitter of his time, deserve to have their achievements dominate the sports pages, at least for one day. McGwire's standing with Hall voters is a sidebar. I'd also like to know why any writer would not vote for Ripken and Gwynn. Yet, their election was not unanimous. These two deserve votes just for doing something that's becoming exceedingly rare: playing their whole career with only one team. Any baseball fans out there disagree?

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