Cal reaps another reward

October 23, 1991|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

ATLANTA -- Somewhere Cal Ripken is enjoying a lucrative post-season vacation.

While he's away, the Orioles' perennial All-Star shortstop keeps adding awards to his bulging collection.

Four days after being named "Player of the Year" by the Associated Press, Ripken was accorded the same honor The Sporting News, the acclaimed weekly that has been presenting its award for 56 years. The announcement was made just before Game 3 of the World Series here last night.

Ripken is the first player from a sub-.500 team ever to win the TSN award. He also won the honor in the Orioles' World Series championship season of 1983, when he also was named American League MVP.

Since the end of the season, Ripken and his wife, Kelly, have been vacationing at an undisclosed location. When they return they will find their trophy collection has been growing.

Having already made every All-Star team imaginable, there are only two awards left for Ripken to claim. The American League MVP vote, which is expected to be very close, will be announced next month, as will the Gold Glove winners.

The latter is probably the honor Ripken covets the most. It is also the only one he has never won, despite being a constant defensive leader at his position.

This year Ripken led AL shortstops in fielding percentage (.986) for the second straight season; in putouts (267) for the fourth time; assists (529) for the sixth time; total chances (807) for the fourth time and double plays (114) for the fifth time.

But it was a monster offensive year, not his defensive excellence, that has brought so much post-season attention to Ripken. He finished sixth in the AL in batting (.323), third in home runs (34) and fourth in runs batted in (114). He led the major leagues with 85 extra base hits -- only the ninth American Leaguer to reach that figure in the last 50 years. Robin Yount is the only shortstop with more, 87 in 1982.

Ripken is only the 10th player in AL history to hit more than 30 home runs and strike out less than 50 times (46). He also became only the eighth player to hit 20 or more home runs in his first 10 years.

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