Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Cal Ripken, Jr., 2002 Fleer Ultra Glove Works #3
Deadspin's obituary of Chestertown resident Richard Ben Cramer, a critically-acclaimed sports journalist who succumbed to lung cancer earlier this month at age 62. Sadly I was never acquainted with Cramer's work during his lifetime, but I followed a link in that story to an excellent feature article that he wrote for Sports Illustrated about Cal Ripken, Jr. back in 1995. It does an incredible job of celebrating the "Iron Man" while simultaneously skewering the mythmakers in Baltimore's sporting and civic hierarchies. It's easy to see how, in the same way Cal was used to distract from the very real problems with the infrastructure of the Orioles organization, Camden Yards and the Harborplace were little more than a shiny veneer on a troubled city. More than 17 years later, it's interesting to plot the trajectories of those mentioned in the piece, including "Rookie of the Year" city councilman Martin O'Malley. If you have a few minutes, go give it a read. You won't be sorry.