On the 12th anniversary of Cal Ripken Jr.'s record-tying 2,130th consecutive game, the House of Representatives voted yesterday to rename a section of Interstate 395 after the former Orioles star.
The measure would christen the highway that runs from I-95 to Conway Street in front of Camden Yards as Cal Ripken Way. Ripken, who ultimately bested Lou Gehrig's consecutive-games mark by more than 500 games, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July.
"He inspired the people of Baltimore every season with his quiet and unassuming dedication to his work and continues to do so in retirement through numerous charitable works and his youth baseball foundation," said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Baltimore County Democrat who sponsored the measure.
"When travelers come to visit Baltimore," Sarbanes said, "they will not only be reminded of a terrific ballplayer whose name has become synonymous with the Orioles, but also a model American and the promise of doing things the 'Ripken Way.'"
The rest of Maryland's House delegation co-sponsored the bill, as did Reps. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and Joe L. Barton of Texas, managers, respectively, of the Democratic and Republican congressional baseball teams.
"Cal Ripken Jr. represents the very best that we have ever seen in the game of baseball," said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat. "And since leaving baseball, he has come to represent the very best of our community and, indeed, our nation by finding new ways to help build the same dedication to excellence in our young people."
Ripken, who was designated a State Department sports envoy last month, already has a city street named in his honor. When Ripken retired as a player Oct. 6, 2001, Mayor Martin O'Malley announced that Lee Street near the ballpark would be renamed Ripken Way.