Colleagues can only tip caps to Ripken Teammates, Yankees reflect and praise

September 21, 1998|By Bill Free and Milton Kent | Bill Free and Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

A million thoughts about Cal Ripken seemed to be running through Brady Anderson's mind last night, the night The Streak came to an end.

He had trouble talking about his close friend while Ripken was speaking at a news conference on a television set in the background.

"I knew the streak was going to end tonight," said Anderson of Ripken's legendary 2,632-game string, which ended when the third baseman took himself out of the lineup 30 minutes before the game. "But it was still tough seeing it happen. I kind of wanted to see it end on the last day he played. I don't think the streak ever diminished his accomplishments, but now maybe there can be more focus on his outstanding achievements."

Chris Hoiles called it "strange" to see Ripken sitting on the bench and not playing third base.

"I knew he wasn't in the lineup, so I wasn't surprised like some of the fans when Ryan Minor made his first play at third," said Hoiles.

Hoiles may not have been surprised, but the New York Yankees sure were.

Said third baseman Scott Brosius: "When that lineup card went up, it was like a state of shock for us, because you don't ever expect not to see him in the lineup."

Shortstop Derek Jeter, who was in the batter's box when the crowd began a standing ovation for Ripken, stepped out to let the ovation build and continue.

"I have a great deal of respect for him and what he's accomplished. That's a record that's not ever going to be broken. I mean, I'm tired right now and I haven't played in that many games," said Jeter.

As Jeter stood out of the box, the rest of his teammates on the bench came to the top step of the dugout to join the crowd in a standing ovation, led by Girardi.

No one was more emotional than bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks.

"I feel honored to be here tonight," he said. "I was here when it started, and I'm here tonight. I'm glad it didn't end on an injury. It's great to see Cal do it with class, the same way he has handled everything else in his career."

Hendricks then became a little upset over what he called the "short-term" memories of some members of media and fans.

"All you hear is McGwire, McGwire," said Hendricks. "Those people forget that Cal probably saved the game in 1995 [when he broke Lou Gehrig's streak]. The most amazing thing is that people want him to come to the ballpark and sit when everywhere else in society people are praised for showing up every day and working. It just doesn't make any sense. Cal didn't deserve that kind of treatment."

Pub Date: 9/21/98

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