CLOSING NOTES

John Intini starts a sentence... Cal Ripken Jr. finishes it

May 24 2004
CLOSING NOTES

John Intini starts a sentence... Cal Ripken Jr. finishes it

May 24 2004

John Intini starts a sentence... Cal Ripken Jr. finishes it

Many people say Cal Ripken Jr. saved baseball. The 1994 players’ strike and subsequent lockout took a toll on fans. But the former Baltimore Orioles long-time shortstop re-energized the sport with his historic playing streak—surpassing New York Yankee legend Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games in 1995. Now the “Iron Man” has co-written Play Baseball the Ripken Way, an instructional book for kids. Ripken, 43, recently finished Maclean’s Assistant Editor John Intini’s sentences.

I DON’T WEAR MY WORLD SERIES RING . . . because I banged it around too much. MY FIRST LITTLE LEAGUE HOMER ... was a line drive over the left fielder’s head. I was playing without outfield fences back then so I had to earn it the old-fashioned way and ran it out. I was about 9. IF I COULD SPEAK WITH LOU GEHRIG ... I’d compare notes. The streak was an extension of a simple approach for me and I assume it was the same for him.

ESSENTIAL RIPKEN 1. Selected as a pitcher in the second round (48th overall) of the 1978 amateur draft.

2. Sat out on Sept. 19, 1998, after 2,632 consecutive games.

3. Started the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, which introduces underprivileged kids to baseball.

IF I COULD HAVE ONE MOMENT ON THE FIELD BACK... I’d like my last atbat. I wanted desperately to get a hit. I had a pretty good swing but flew out to centre. THE TOUGHEST GUY I EVER FACED ... was Len Barker with the Cleveland Indians. He had a perfect game in the big leagues, and it was no accident. He had some great stuff. I could never see his breaking ball.

PEOPLE SAY I SAVED BASEBALL WITH THE STREAK ... but I don’t fully believe it. It was good timing. People were longing for something in the game to cling to that was good.

FOR MORE “FINISH THE SENTENCES” VISIT WWW.MACLEANS.CA/PEOPLE