To no one's surprise, Cal Ripken has been named the winner of the Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole Award by the Sports Boosters of Maryland.
The award is named in honor of the former sportswriter who covered the Orioles for 27 years for The Sun.
Ripken received all eight first-place votes cast by writers and broadcasters who cover the team, collecting the maximum 40 points.
Reliever Todd Frohwirth was second with 10 points under the 5-3-1 point system. Mike Devereaux had eight points, Gregg Olson four, Randy Milligan, Bob Milacki and Mike Flanagan three each and Joe Orsulak one.
It is the fourth MVO award for Ripken, the second outright. He shared the honor with Eddie Murray in 1983 and 1988.
Entering last night, he had career highs in home runs (34) and RBI (114) and was within three hits of his high of 208.
His batting average has not been under .318 since the third day of the season, and he leads American League shortstops in fielding percentage.
Gomez plans to be back
Leo Gomez returned to the lineup as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning last night and is expected to start today after missing two starts because of a stiff neck.
"It happened in my room in New York, and then I had more pain on a play near the start of the game [Thursday]," he said. "I don't want to play at 50 percent. But, I'll play Saturday."
Manager John Oates said, "We'll see how it is."
Milligan, should be back after attending the funeral of a relative in San Diego.
F: Bill Ripken is questionable because of a bruised foot.
No problem to Devereaux
The Orioles painted the "Season To Remember" logo onto the center-field grass for the final series, a large portion of which is white.
Which raised the question of what happens if a sinking liner or ground single lands in the middle.
"It shouldn't be a problem," said Devereaux. "You have to keep concentrating."
Barney taken to hospital
Public address announcer Rex Barney was taken by ambulance to Sinai Hospital late last night after he nearly passed out at Memorial Stadium.
Barney was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation, but club officials said he could be released as early as this morning.
Oates said he is prepared to wait as long as necessary if it rains tomorrow. "I've got nowhere to go," he said. "We want to play. I have no control over rain." . . . Baltimore City Police charged an unidentified fan with theft and destruction of city property for allegedly attempting to remove a seat during the game. . . . Alan Trammell, who has a sore ankle, probably won't play in this series unless it is to pinch hit. "At this stage, there's no point in doing something foolish," said the Tigers shortstop. . . . Mickey Tettleton hit the Tigers' 200th homer this season, making them the only team with four 200-plus years. "I was also the guy who struck out to set the American League team record," he said. "That's the way we are. Feast or famine." . . . Among the auction items planned to benefit Orioles Children's Charities is the wooden desk in the visiting manager's office. Each visiting manager has signed the desk during his team's final visit to Memorial Stadium . . . Ernie Tyler estimates 144,115 baseballs will have been used at the stadium by tomorrow night, including 91,020 hit into the stands as souvenirs. The Orioles use between 45 and 50 baseballs per game. . . . There are more than 3,000 tickets available for today's game, but tomorrow's finale is a sellout.