What's in a name?

July 02, 1991

Prominent Marylanders offer their suggestions for naming the new ballpark at Camden Yards:

BROOKS ROBINSON, Hall of Famer, former Orioles third baseman

"I haven't paid much attention, and I really don't care what they name it. I'm just happy they're building a new stadium because it's the only way to keep major-league baseball in Baltimore.

"But if we're picking a name . . . I'd rather have Camden Yards than Babe Ruth Stadium, which I don't see a lot of support for.

"Brooks Robinson Stadium? Great. I've been out there campaigning, which, you know, Babe Ruth can't do."

TAYLOR BRANCH, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

"I once made an imaginative suggestion to [Orioles principal owner] Mr. [Eli] Jacobs himself. I suggested it be called Chesapeake Park or Chesapeake Yard, on the theory that the Chesapeake is one of the qualities that gives this area its greatest resonance. He said he could guarantee the name would not have anything to do with Chesapeake. He said he wanted something simple. My guess is Oriole Park."

ALLAN PRELL, Radio talk show host

"Prell-Ko Stadium . . . because [the ballpark] is a symbol of greed and desire, qualities that Prell-Ko has been so closely identified with. Every time the games are broadcast nationally, I'd get millions of dollars of free advertising."

JEROLD HOFFBERGER, former Orioles owner

"Memorial Stadium. That was the name put up to memorialize all Marylanders who served and who will serve in all wars. . . . I really don't see Camden Yards. It's not Camden Yards. That was a railroad station."

DAVID ZINMAN, conductor, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

"First, what I think it will be -- Schaefer Stadium. If everyone has their wits about them, it must be that. The governor has been so instrumental in seeing that it happens.

"What I'd like -- Beethoven Stadium. There are no sports parks named after composers. Not one in the world. Baltimore, a center of great culture and art, should be at the vanguard of this."

SCOTT McGREGOR, former Orioles pitcher

"What's wrong with Memorial Stadium? I kind of like that because it worked well for me."

PAM SHRIVER, tennis player

"Oriole Park, since we're basically building it for the Orioles. And because it's a very non-political name. . . . Then we could honor politicians and other people by naming parts of the stadium for them. For instance, the scoreboard could be named for Brooks Robinson or a certain deck in the stands could be the William Donald Schaefer deck. There's a stadium in Australia where they do that -- not a bad idea."

BARRY LEVINSON, director, "Diner," "Tin Man," "Avalon"

"Camden Yards. They just don't name places like that anymore."

STEPHEN L. MILES, lawyer

"I always liked Babe Ruth, I guess because he was a Baltimorean and his dad's bar is beneath the stadium."

VINCE BAGLI, sportscaster

"I have thought from Day One it ought to be Oriole Park. I have such memories [of the original Oriole Park] as a kid. I was there the night it burned down. . . . We saw the last game there.

"I think the name Baltimore Orioles is the best nickname in sports. It's so much better then the Detroit Lions or the Pittsburgh Pirates. An Oriole is a pretty bird.

"Camden Yards is my second choice. I don't want it named after Babe Ruth or Gov. Schaefer, for heaven's sake."

JON MILLER, Orioles broadcaster

"Babe Ruth Park. I just feel like it's a great name for a baseball park. It says baseball. He was maybe the greatest player of all time, and there is no park that has ever been named for him. The notion that it is not a good name for Baltimore because he was famous with the Yankees is really not relevant because it's a way of proclaiming Baltimore's great baseball history."

CAL RIPKEN JR., Orioles shortstop

"Honestly, it doesn't matter what the ballpark is named. Orioles history will always be there. But everything starts new after the move to the new stadium. We start from that point."

JIM PALMER, Hall of Famer, former Orioles pitcher

"Oriole Park, because you're going to alienate the fewest number of people naming it that. I understand a lot of people are saying it should be named for Babe Ruth because his name is synonymous with baseball. Oriole Park will be less controversial."

RUSSELL BAKER, columnist for The New York Times, former reporter for The Sun

"Camden Yards, I like that because it sounds like a place in Baltimore. When I think of Camden Yards, I think of Camden Station and that great, long, red-brick building -- I slid in and out of there many times on the old B&O [railroad].

"Oriole Park? The team got a free ride on the park, with the taxpayers building it for them. I don't think they deserve the name, too.

"Babe Ruth was a Baltimorean, but he is a New York Yankee. That's not for a Baltimore stadium. Also, Babe Ruth doesn't need his name on anything. Babe Ruth is too big to be reduced to a mere stadium."

They declined to comment: Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Orioles principal owner Eli S. Jacobs, former Orioles manager Frank Robinson.

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