Streak Scene 2,131: Ripkens Passes Gehrig

September 07, 1995

Anderson's tribute

Excerpts from the speech Brady Anderson delivered on behalf of Orioles players after last night's game:

For 14 years, Cal Ripken has played for the Orioles with skill, determination and dedication. His inspiration has always been a love for the game, his teammates and the devoted fans of Baltimore.

The record which has been broken today speaks volumes about a man who never unduly focused on this achievement, but accomplished it through years of energy, incredible inner resources and an unflagging passion for the sport.

But fame is a dual-edged sword, and his is no exception. #F Incredible pressure has been placed on Cal as it became increasingly apparent that this achievement could be realized. In breaking this record, he surpasses the playing streak of Lou Gehrig, an exceptional baseball player. . . .

I know Cal is honored to be in the company of such a legend, just as we know that each man's accomplishments and contributions enhance, rather than diminish, the other's; for what finer tribute can one player give to another than his uncompromising excellence?

. . . Cal, you have inspired many teammates; you have delighted millions of fans; you have given the nation uncountable memories. Your pride in and love for the game are at a level few others will reach. . . . Cal, thank you.

Usher in the house

John Eads, an usher in center field who works Section 84, is becoming a media pro.

After handling the crush of reporters and memorabilia-seekers after Cal Ripken's home run ball landed in his section Tuesday night, Eads knew exactly what to do last night when Ripken hit another one into the stands -- four sections away.

Eads ran over to where Bryan Johnson caught the ball and quickly escorted the new star to a makeshift news conference.

"I knew what was going to happen, with the media and the people wanting to buy the ball," Eads said. "Nobody else acted fast enough."

Eads wasn't too surprised that Ripken's consecutive-day home runs landed near where he works. "This is hot alley," he said.

Unlike Mike Stirn, who caught Tuesday's ball and was reluctant to give it back to Ripken, Johnson said he would gladly give up the keepsake if Ripken asked.

"Johnson's going to give it up," Eads said, "which makes it all the more special. Cal is all about giving and not expecting anything in return."

Hand over the keys

Police were reluctant to discuss increased security measures at last night's game, but the presence of Secret Service agents was readily apparent to anyone who glanced at the roof above the upper deck.

Three clumps of agents, some wearing bullet-proof vests and scanning the capacity crowd with binoculars, stood watch over the game attended by President Clinton and host of other dignitaries.

In parking lot A, closest to the stadium entrance, drivers had to surrender their keys to Orioles officials so Secret Service agents could inspect their cars. People who park in Lot A include reporters, VIPs and Orioles officials. The lot also is used for handicapped ticket-holders, who were directed elsewhere.

As they pulled into the lot, drivers were handed a three-paragraph note that started out, "Dear parking patron." It explained the situation and promised that officials would return the keys to the owners during the game.

Keeping score

The Orioles gave Mark Jacobson, 37, of Arlington, Va., the nod to be the official scorer.

Jacobson, a scorer since 1992 and freelance radio reporter since 1981, made all the scoring decisions and will sign the scorecard that will end up in Cooperstown.

"I might make a Xerox or something," Jacobson said. "[American League vice president] Phyllis Merhige will take it with her. Wherever it goes, I'm thankful for the chance."

Jacobson said even to be a small part of it is special.

"In general, you think about what a great event it is," Jacobson said. "There are so many people who are peripheral to it. It's just neat to be peripheral to something grand."

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