|Cooperstown, NY–While many of our staff are Maryland natives, nothing says growing up in the beautiful State of Maryland more than eating Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs on a sizzling and steamy summer day and Orioles baseball with Cal Ripken on the diamond.
You couldn’t go anywhere in Baltimore during the late 80’s and into the 90’s without seeing the Number 8 somewhere. Like the Statehouse in Annapolis, the Ripken name is something that can not be missed while passing through Maryland and just like the historic landmark that marks the State’s Capital city, Ripken will also become a landmark both in Baltimore and now in Cooperstown.. He
Ripken basically made the Baltimore Orioles in the 80’s and 90’s and rebuilt baseball after the strike left a bad taste in fans mouths, Now his legendary impression on baseball fans worldwide with his class act on and off the field became even stronger as he added one final notation to his career, a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Instead of playing in front of 42,000 plus fans at Camden Yards, he took the stage along with fellow inductee Tony Gywnn in front of 75,000 plus fan donning the number 8 and red and black for as far as you could see on the grounds of the ceremony. Just a great day for Ripken and his fans.
“Whether we like it or not, as big leaguers, we are role models,” Ripken said in his 16-minute speech. “The only question is, ‘Will it be positive or negative?’
Ripken didn’t focus on his career achievements like many thought he would, but rather his fans and family that brought him to this day and how the 2,632 career games mark was a lot like everyone else going to work.
“I always looked at it as showing up for work every day” — and in accordance with that, he offered a salute to teachers, police officers, businesspeople and parents who approach life as he does.
RIpken took the time to thank his teammates that made it so memorable over the years. Many players were mentioned, even Brady Anderson, who Cal calls his best friend. Anderson was grateful of the mention.
“I have always considered Cal my best friend. It was an honor for him to mention me and to play along side of him. Even though we don’t talk a lot and see each other that much, he is still my best friend. My fiancee asked me who would be my best man at my wedding and I said Cal… she replied,” How’s that, I haven’t even met him yet.”
If you ask anyone in attendance if this was the best induction ceremony ever at Cooperstown, some will say it may be one of the best days in baseball history, not just in Cooperstown.
Tony Gywnn finished with 3,141 hits and won eight National League batting titles in a 20-year career with the Padres, couldn’t be a better match for Ripken as a very likable player himself. Gywnn gave a 28 minute speech on what a special day it was for him and how grateful he was to be along side of such great company.
“I think the fans felt comfortable enough in us, they could trust us and how we played the game, especially in this era of negativity,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that,” said Gywnn.
“When you sign your name on the dotted line, it’s more than just playing the game of baseball,” he said. “You’ve got to be responsible and make decisions and show people how things are supposed to be done.”
Baseball’s “Ironman” Is Right at Home In Cooperstown With Some of the Best In Baseball History