Reporting Pat Warren
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Seventeen years ago, all eyes were on Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. as he set a game-streak record that still has not been broken. And Thursday, he is honored at Camden Yards in front of a packed house with Orioles legends looking on.
Monique Griego shows us the statue unveiled as a permanent tribute to the Iron Man.
The moment the gates opened at Camden Yards, diehard fans made a mad dash to watch a Baltimore Oriole legend be immortalized.
“I could not miss Cal Ripken Day,” Orioles fan Rich Bevensee said. “If you’re a Baltimore Orioles fan, you gotta be here for Cal Ripken Day.”
“I have a shrine to Cal Ripken in my bedroom,” said another fan.
Thousands of fans crowded in as the Hall of Famer was honored. The Iron Man of baseball unveiled a bronze statue in his likeness.
Ripken is one of six Orioles legends receiving a statue at Camden Yards.
“Very proud of the pose,” he said of his statue. “I think it looks like me and it captures who I was as a short stop.”
Spectators agreed these are how larger-than-life figures should be remembered.
“It looks great. It’s going to be another icon to remember Camden Yards by,” Orioles fan Levi Porter said.
“I think they’re amazing. It represents who we are,” Jessica McCloskey said.
Adding to the excitement of the night was that as Ripken took the field, it was in front of a sold out crowd there to cheer on an Orioles team defending first place.
“Everybody is here to honor Cal but the same time, everybody is amped up for the Yankees series,” Bevensee said.
And the man who helped make the Orioles great once again got to share in their success.
“It feels really good to walk into that stadium and see the excitement and see that there’s a big series in September,” Ripken said.
The last statue of the legend’s series will be unveiled on Saturday, September 29. It will honor Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson.
Because of the Orioles success, the mayor is asking the residents to light the city orange. City buildings and the Washington Monument will soon all be lit up in the team’s color.