Ripken to honor Gehrig in Cooperstown

The Hall of Fame ceremonies take place later this month, and they haven't created much of a buzz in the baseball industry, considering that voters failed to elect any candidates for induction in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Talk about a buzz kill.

However, a dozen former players who never were formally inducted due to travel restrictions and illness will be honored in a July 28 ceremony that once again will link the names of Lou Gehrig and Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr.

Ripken accepted an invitation to read Gehrig's plaque - one of the 12 pairings of Hall of Famers, past and distant past.

Here's the list:

Class of 1945
Roger Bresnahan, with plaque text read by Carlton Fisk
Dan Brouthers, with plaque text read by Orlando Cepeda
Fred Clarke, with plaque text read by Bert Blyleven
Jimmy Collins, with plaque text read by Wade Boggs
Ed Delahanty, with plaque text read by Billy Williams
Hugh Duffy, with plaque text read by Jim Rice
Hughie Jennings, with plaque text read by Ozzie Smith
Mike "King" Kelly, with plaque text read by Andre Dawson
Jim O'Rourke, with plaque text read by Tony Gwynn
Wilbert Robinson, with plaque text read by Tommy Lasorda

Class of 1942
Rogers Hornsby, with plaque text read by Joe Morgan

Elected by Special Acclamation in December 1939
Lou Gehrig, with plaque text read by Cal Ripken Jr.

"I got a call from the Hall of Fame asking me to do it," Ripken told me yesterday morning. "Of course, it's a great honor. I didn't realize at the time that Lou hadn't gone in formally. This year is a good opportunity. And I've been connected to Lou Gehrig, obviously, through The Streak.

"It's an unfair comparison because he's one of the great baseball players to ever play the game. But I've always felt a small connection to him, knowing how it feels to play that many games in a row. So when they asked, I jumped on the opportunity."

This is only the second time in four decades that voters failed to elect any candidates, the stench from the steroid mess still thick in the air.

"I don't sit around and try to make heads or tails about it," said Ripken, who was inducted in 2007. "Voters take it very seriously when they vote people into the Hall of Fame. To me, if there's some sort of cloud or questions hanging over eligible players, it seems they were cautious and needed more information. You can't make anything more of it than that.

"I do know everyone takes that vote very seriously. I can't tell you what was in the minds of all the voters, but if it's me, I think I'd want to have a little more information."

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