To Ripken, teammates enhance star time Anderson, Alomar share experience

July 10, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA -- For years, Cal Ripken started All-Star Games alone -- the sole starter from the Orioles.

Sure, he had good friends from other teams like Minnesota outfielder Kirby Puckett, but it wasn't the same as playing with teammates.

This year was different. He was joined by pals Brady Anderson and Roberto Alomar in the starting lineup. Even if they did combine to go 1-for-8 and lose, 6-0, to the National League, it was still a special night.

"It enhances the All-Star Game for me personally to be able to come here with my teammates," Ripken said. "It's much more fun on a personal level to take the field with two teammates. It seems a whole lot more familiar with Brady's locker next to yours and your second baseman in the regular season happens to be over there in the All-Star Game, too. It's indicative of the kind of team we have to send three starters."

The last time he was accompanied by another Oriole position player was 1992, when Anderson was invited. The last time he took the field as a starter with another Oriole was 1987, when Terry Kennedy started at catcher.

He usually had Puckett, though, until this year. The Twins spark plug has missed the entire year with an eye problem. "Kirby should be here," Ripken said. "To me, it just doesn't feel right without Kirby here."

The All-Star Game is nothing new for Ripken. He made his 13th straight All-Star start. Ripken trails only Willie Mays in that category and would tie him with a start next year. Four times (1985, 1986, 1992 and 1995) Ripken has garnered more votes than any other player.

The 13 starts are a club record and tops among AL shortstops. St. Louis shortstop Ozzie Smith, who is retiring at the end of this season, played in his 15th All-Star Game last night.

Anderson made his second All-Star appearance and his first start. He was an All-Star in 1992, going 0-for-3 in San Diego. That had been Anderson's best season. His .271 average, 21 homers and 80 RBIs were career highs.

Anderson eclipsed some of those numbers in the first half. He leads the majors with 30 home runs. He's hitting .296 and with 62 RBIs; 80 seems well within reach.

"This was a lot more enjoyable than in '92," Anderson said. "In '92, I was just trying to see what it was all like. There's no question the home run contest was the highlight of my week. It was altogether different this time. It was fun to be here with Cal and Robbie."

It was also a special night for the Orioles organization.

The Orioles had three All-Star starters for the first time since 1972. Jim Palmer was the starting pitcher, with Bobby Grich and Brooks Robinson in the infield.

In those days, All-Star seasons and postseason glory were linked. The manager of the trio from 1972 hopes Ripken, Anderson and Alomar can maintain the legacy.

"That's the Oriole way," said Earl Weaver, soon-to-be Hall of Famer and the honorary captain of the AL. "The first thing I do in the morning is look at the paper to see what those guys did. I hope they can go all the way."

Game facts

* No walks for first time

* Shutout was seventh in All0-Star history, fifth by NL

* NL has 14 consecutive shutout innings and a three-game winning streak.

* Shortest game (2 hours and 35 minutes) since 1988 (2:36).

* Mike Piazza became first to hit home runsx in consecutive All-Star at * bats since Gary Carter in 1981. Piazza had homered in his last at-bat in 1995.

* Ellis Burks' triple was first since Tim Raines' in 1987.

* John Smoltz became first Braves pitcher to win an All-Star Game since Gene Conley for Milwaukee in 1955.

* Attendance of 62,670 was seventh largest ever.

Pub Date: 7/10/96

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