Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. were enshrined in front of 75,000 fans, the largest crowd in the history of the Hall of Fame, on Sunday, July 28, 2007 as 53 Hall of Famers returned to Cooperstown to welcome the 2007 inductees. Denny Matthews, longtime voice of the Kansas City Royals, was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award and Rick Hummel, baseball writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was presented the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.
TONY GWYNN: With the seventh-highest percentage in Hall of Fame history – and second-highest vote total – Tony Gwynn earned election to the Hall on his first ballot. Gwynn played 20 seasons, all with the San Diego Padres. A 15-time All-Star, Gwynn retired with a .338 career batting average, good for 20th in MLB history. He amassed 3,141 hits, batting better than .300 every season except his rookie year (1989), when he hit .289. Gwynn won eight N.L. batting titles, tying Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie for the MLB career lead. He also led the league in hits seven seasons, five of which included more than 200 hits. Gwynn won five Gold Glove awards for defense and seven Silver Slugger awards for hitting prowess.
CAL RIPKEN JR: With the third highest percentage in Hall of Fame history – and the highest vote total – Cal Ripken Jr. earned election to the Hall on his first ballot. Ripken played 21 seasons, all with the Baltimore Orioles. He is best known for “The Streak,” his MLB-record of 2,632 consecutive games, breaking Lou Gehrig’s mark, which many thought untouchable. Ripken, a power-hitting shortstop for most of his career, opened the door for the larger, slugging shortstops of today. He also played third base. Ripken was a 19-time All-Star, two-time American League MVP (1983, 1991) and AL Rookie of the Year (1982). He won eight Silver Slugger awards and is one of eight players in MLB history to amass 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. Ripken won two Gold Gloves for defense (1991-92), and recorded only three-errors in 1990 – the lowest single-season total for any shortstop in history.