At ceremony, thanks and gifts for Ripken 2,131: RIPKEN PASSES GEHRIG

September 07, 1995|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Saving the best for last, the Orioles and Major League Baseball showed their appreciation last night for Cal Ripken's record-breaking career.

In an elaborate post-game ceremony after Ripken overtook the legendary Lou Gehrig with his 2,131st consecutive game, Ripken was showered with gifts, among them a solid mahogany pool table, a 2,131-pound landscaping stone, a Paul Picot watch, a Waterford crystal and a Chevy Tahoe.

But perhaps the biggest winner last night was the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which will receive $2 million as a result of his record run. Team owner Peter Angelos said that the Orioles raised $1.3 million by selling 260 commemorative seats at $5,000 apiece for last night's record-setting game, a 4-2 victory over the California Angels.

On top of that, Angelos said the Orioles would kick in $700,000 to bring the total to $2 million.

After broadcasters Chuck Thompson and Jon Miller introduced the Orioles' lineup from the May 30, 1982 game that started the streak, Ripken came onto the field with his arms draped around his father, Cal Sr., and his mother, Vi.

Winning pitcher Mike Mussina then made team presentations of the pool table and landscaping stone, which has the No. 2,131 etched on the front.

Mark Belanger, the Orioles' shortstop from 1965 through 1981 and special assistant to Players Association president Don Fehr, said the major-league players would build a stadium and park for kids -- Inspiration Field -- in Ripken's hometown of Aberdeen.

Also introduced during the ceremony was Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, a teammate of Gehrig's with the New York Yankees. "Wherever he is, I'm sure he's tipped his cap to Cal Ripken," DiMaggio said.

Outfielder Brady Anderson also paid tribute to Ripken.

"We are thrilled to play beside him today, and we wish to thank Cal -- our teammate, friend and mentor -- for enabling us to share this wonderful moment in time," Anderson said. "We acknowledge his extraordinary performance in breaking this record but we acknowledge as well his excellence throughout the 14 seasons."

For the second straight night, Ripken gave the fans a special treat with a home run. Last night, he crushed a 3-0 pitch from Shawn Boskie deep to the seats in left in the fourth inning to give the Orioles a 3-1 lead.

He also came to bat in the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs, but Rex Hudler raced into shallow center to take away a hit.

One night after the Orioles brought in baseball greats Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks for consecutive game No. 2,130, Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio watched the record-breaker from Orioles owner Peter Angelos' box.

The appearance of DiMaggio, 80, held special meaning for Angelos.

"At my age, he is my baseball hero," Angelos said. "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio."

Branford Marsalis, playing the saxophone, and Bruce Hornsby, on the piano, performed an instrumental version of the national anthem at the start of the game.

In one other personal touch, Ripken's two children, Rachel, 5, and Ryan, 2, participated in the ceremonial first pitch.

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