McGwire Snubbed From Baseball Hall of Fame

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, appearing on 98.5 percent of ballots, falling just short of the record percentage of 98.84 set by Tom Seaver when he was selected on 425 of 430 ballots in 1992.

Gwynn was just behind with 532 votes, 97.6 percent.

Goose Gossage finished third with 388 votes, falling 21 shy of the necessary 409 for election. Jim Rice was fourth with 346, followed by Andre Dawson (309), Bert Blyleven (260), Lee Smith (217) and Jack Morris (202).

McGwire was ninth, followed by Tommy John (125) and Steve Garvey (115), who was in his final year of eligibility.

McGwire's dismal showing raises doubts about whether he will ever get elected -- players can appear on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years -- and whether the shadow of steroids will cost Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro places in Cooperstown.

Jose Canseco, on the ballot for the first time, received six votes, well below the 5 percent threshold needed to stay on future ballots. In his book two years ago, Canseco accused McGwire and others of using steroids. The book's publication was quickly followed by a congressional hearing on steroids during which McGwire evaded questions, saying: "I'm not here to talk about the past."

Harold Baines, who received 29 votes, reached the 5 percent threshold. Bret Saberhagen got seven votes in his first appearance on the ballot and Ken Caminiti, who admitted using steroids during his career and died in 2004, received two.

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