Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cal Ripken, Sr., 1989 Bowman #260

To my knowledge, Cal Ripken, Sr. is the only coach to receive a card in the 1989 Bowman set. If you're wondering about the television motif, I'm pretty sure it's an homage to the 1955 Bowman design. I'm grateful for this oddity, as it makes for a great Father's Day card. Of course, "Senior" had made baseball history in 1987 as the first (and to date, the only) man to manage two of his sons on the same team. By the time the Aberdeen, MD native was tabbed to replace Earl Weaver as the Oriole manager, he had paid his dues as a player, coach, and manager in the Baltimore organization for three decades. As his reward, he was handed an aging team that had been in steady decline since winning the World Series in 1983. The club went 67-95 and finished ahead of only the Indians in the A.L. East. If you want to talk about a short leash, Cal was fired just six games into a winless start to the 1988 season. Frank Robinson took his place and proved that the manager wasn't the problem; the O's eventually lost a league-record 21 games before picking up their first win that year and dropped 107 in all.

Both of the Ripken boys were obviously hit hard by the hasty dismissal of their father. Cal Junior was deeply resentful and later admitted that he began having doubts about his own long-term future with the team. Billy switched from uniform number 3 to his dad's #7. Fortunately, the story had a somewhat happy ending. Robinson soon asked the elder Ripken to return as third-base coach, a position that he held until retiring in 1992. Cal Senior remained close to the Birds until his death in 1999. It's a classy and fitting testament to the literal and figurative father of the O's that no one has worn #7 since he hung up his spikes.


Commish said...

Kevin, I am glad all you had was a connection problem. Had me worried for a day. Saw your pix on Uniwatch. Thats a great hat, despite what PL says. LOL

I have a friend, an Orioles fan from Houston who always went with me to O's games in Arlington. One time in the early 80s we got to the park early and were among the first folks in. We sat down near the O's dugout behind a guy in civvys having a smoke. When he looked around we realized it was Cal Sr. We said hello and he began chatting, I guess because we had O's gear on. I don't remember what we were talking about specifically but I remember that he had some funny and profane stories and that he hung out talking so long that a player called him out of the stands so he could dress and hit fungoes.

Rod said...

I believe that Sandy Alomar Sr. has a card with his sons in this set also. All of them are with San Diego

HandyAndy said...

From what I've found there were actually 4 father/son cards in that set:

258 Roberto Alomar (Father/Son)
259 Ken Griffey (Father/Son)
260 Cal Ripken (Father/Son)
261 Mel Stottlemyre (Father/Son)

Apart from Cal Sr, Sandy Alomar Sr was 3rd base coach for the Padres that year, and Mel Stottlemyre Sr was the Mets pitching coach.

I found the full checklist at:

zman40 said...

I think Handy Andy is right. Here is the Stottlemyre card that I got signed: http://autocards.blogspot.com/2008/10/1989-bowman.html

Kevin said...

Bob - Thanks for the concern, and we all know that Paul's set in his ways, haha. I tried to explain to him that it was a secondary logo, so having the logo wearing the actual team hat was actually more impressive, but he didn't buy it.

Rod, Andy, and zman - Thanks for the extra info! I didn't collect the 1989 Bowman set, so I'd never seen the other father-son cards. Those are pretty cool.