I have idolized Cal Ripken Jr. since I was eight year old. I discovered Ripken as my favorite player through typical childhood whimsy. As my older brother, Keith, and I sorted our baseball cards, I found that I had three 1983 Topps cards of Cal. He must have be good was the thought. I mean, I have three of his cards.
So, from that day on Cal Ripken Jr. symbolized my love for baseball. He carried himself with dignity and class. He showed up everyday--2,632 consecutive days. In the past 22 years, I have come close to meeting him. The closest came during his farewell tour five years ago.
As I waited near the dugout at Safeco Field, I knew my time had come. A seven year old boy was the only one in front of me. But as the crowd swelled behind me, I began to crush the poor boy. So, as Ripken came near, I picked the boy up and put him on the field. Ripken, noticing this, and seeing the boy crying, picked him up and carried him further down the stands to continue signing. I thought my chance would never come.
But thankfully that was not true. I've never put a picture of myself up on this site, but because Cal Ripken Jr. is shaking my hand in the photo, I have to put up. Sorry to disappoint all of my anonymous adimerers.