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August 1, 2013

Small crowd sees induction of O'Day, Ruppert, White


Players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza all appeared on the BBWAA ballot for the first time this year and compiled Hall of Fame-quality numbers during their careers. But none met the 75 percent threshold for election.

Suspected steroid use appears to be the reason they fell short.

McNamara, a former Chicago police officer who turned 70 Saturday, choked up several times during his speech.

“I have that Boehner syndrome,” McNamara joked during his address, in reference to U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who’s been known to get emotional in front of cameras.

At the post-Induction news conference, McNamara added: “I really didn’t understand why I was tearing up all the time. I don’t understand why (Boehner) tears up all the time.”

O’Day, who died in 1935 at 75, spent close to 50 years in professional baseball, most of it as a National League umpire. He became the 10th umpire inducted into the Hall. O’Day worked five of the first seven World Series, including the first in 1903, and 10 overall. He also played and managed professionally.

McNamara called his experience “priceless.”

“I’m not a big baseball fan,” McNamara said after the ceremony, “but I do know riding on that bus (to the Clark Sports Center), sitting right next to Wade Boggs and various superstars that many people would give anything to get their signatures on a baseball, to be on the bus with all of them … priceless.”

McNamara said he’ll look forward to next year, when former Chicago Cubs standout Greg Maddux and ex-Chicago White Sox star Frank Thomas will be on the BBWAA ballot.

White’s great grandson, Watkins, is from Wheaton, Ill., and roots for the Cubs, who last won a World Series in 1908. He said White’s induction is a long time coming.

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