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Little League Congratulates Cal Ripken, Jr., Tony Gwynn, on Hall of Fame Induction
Mr. Ripken and Mr. Gwynn, who each played for one Major League team for the duration of their careers, entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
Mr. Ripken is a graduate of the West Ashville Little League. As a 12-year-old in 1973, he pitched and played shortstop for his league’s tournament team that played in the Little League Baseball Southern Region Tournament in St. Petersburg, Fla. His team’s tournament run ended two wins shy of the Little League Baseball World Series, played annually in Williamsport.
Twenty-two years later, in Baltimore’s Orioles Park at Camden Yards, Mr. Ripken eclipsed Mr. Gehrig’s once-untouchable mark when he took the field for his 2,131st consecutive game. Later that year, at the 50th Little League Baseball World Series in Aug. 1996, he was enshrined in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum’s Hall of Excellence prior to the world championship game.
In 20 years with the Orioles (1981-2001), Mr. Ripken established a new Major League Baseball endurance record by playing in 2,652 consecutive games. In 1982, his first full year in the Majors, he was named the American League Rookie of the Year. One year later, he won the first of two league most valuable player awards, making him the first player to receive rookie of the year, and MVP honors in back-to-back seasons. His only World Series championship came in 1983.
Mr. Gwynn, considered the best pure hitter of his era, played 19 years for the San Diego Padres (1982-2001). He played in 2,440 games and never batted below .300 in a season, highlighted by the 1994 season when he hit 394. Mr. Gwynn’s career totals include a .338 batting average, with 135 home runs, and 1,138 runs batted in. He won five Gold Gloves, was a 15-time all-star selection, and played in two World Series.
Mr. Gwynn visited the Little League Baseball World Series as a member of the ESPN broadcast team in 2004 and 2006.
The Little League Hall of Excellence, located inside the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, was established to recognize Little League graduates who have become outstanding citizens and role models as adults. When considering a person for enshrinement into the Hall of Excellence, playing ability is never a factor, even though some have advanced to outstanding athletic careers.
Mr. Ripken was named on 537 of 545 ballots cast by Major League Baseball writers, garnering 98.5 percent of the vote. Fellow Little League Hall of Excellence enshrinee Tom Seaver holds the record percentage at 98.84, set when he was selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on 425 of 430 ballots in 1992. Mr. Gwynn garnered 97.6 percent of the vote (532 votes).