Many fans will be celebrating those unforgettable one-team careers as well, now that the pair has just been voted in overwhelmingly by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Here are some of the ways MLB.com can help you keep the memories alive:
This is the best place to start, because that's where it all started. There is an important distinction to note, though. Ripken was a callup late in the 1981 season, so his rookie cards were in the 1982 factory sets. Gwynn reached The Show out of Spring Training in 1982, and his rookie card did not appear until the 1983 sets.
For Gwynn, visitors to the MLB.com Shop can find his 1983 Topps card, which is No. 482 in that year's set. You might find a Gwynn in a 1983 Donruss or Fleer box set, and look in those one for another perennial Hall of Fame batting champ, Wade Boggs. Bid right now at the MLB.com Auction, and you can get a great deal on a Gwynn card that contains a piece of one of his game-used bats.
In 1993, Ripken played all 162 games. Duh. But thanks to Mitchell and Ness, you should know that anyone can wear the exact version of an alternate jersey that he wore for the Orioles that season, featuring his autograph in the numeral 8 on the back, as well as an All-Star patch on the sleeve. Wear the Mitchell and Ness version of the No. 19 road jersey that Gwynn grew accustomed to during that 1982 rookie season.
Majestic Athletic now makes these available for release right after the announcement in the same way these show up after a team has clinched a championship. Be the first to own a Hall of Fame Name and Number T-shirt for Ripken or Gwynn.
Photos and prints
Arguably the most high-end piece of memorabilia in the MLB.com universe is a magnificent Ripken-signed giclee, one of 99 limited-edition works of art from Stephen Holland. It's signed by Ripken and Holland, and is available for $3,499.99 if you are a serious art collector. What is your lasting image of Gwynn? It's probably him about to lash another one of his 3,141 hits, and there is a poignant 8x10 framed photo that captures it nicely.
The staples of this 2007 induction class will include balls signed by Ripken and Gwynn (and whoever might be added next month by the Veterans Committee). Bid now on a ball that Gwynn signed with the inscription: "HOF 07" -- something he will be doing regularly the rest of his life. There are Ripken-signed balls all over the place at MLB.com, so start here unless you can get his signature at Cooperstown.
Ripken's greatest legacy in baseball was his streak of 2,632 consecutive games played, more than three full seasons better than Lou Gehrig's "unbreakable" record of 2,130. Commemorate that with a black Iron Man bat that Ripken signed with the inscription "2,131 CONSECUTIVE GAMES." The Shop has a beautiful autographed Gwynn glove from Rawlings (would you use it?).
Baseball's Best video
Another way to commemorate these Hall of Fame careers is with a subscription to the Baseball's Best library at MLB.com. A few seasons ago, voters here determined that Ripken's 2,131st consecutive game played qualified as the Most Memorable Moment in Major League history -- relive it on Baseball's Best. Remember when Gwynn smashed a hard liner off Rick Sutcliffe to help San Diego complete that comeback against the Cubs and win the 1984 National League pennant? This video library shows you again what a Hall of Famer looked like when Cooperstown wasn't yet a thought.
That 1982 season was the first full Major League run for a pair of players who would spend their entire careers with their same clubs and eventually go to Cooperstown for a great 25th-anniversary celebration. Now is a good time to commemorate all those wonderful moments that happened along the way.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less