Between two games at this year's Cal Ripken World Series Monday night, a legendary member of the Baltimore Orioles family, a man with an unbroken string of work days that makes Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive games streak look short in comparison, was honored in Aberdeen.
The late Ernie Tyler, Baltimore's umpire attendant who sat at the backstop from 1960 through 2007 for 3,769 consecutive regular-season home matchups, 40 post-season contests and one All-Star game before taking a day off to attend the induction of Cal Ripken Jr. into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, had the street between Cal Sr.'s Yard and the Ripken Complex's Marriott Hotel named after him.
"We started about naming the roads here a while ago, maybe a month, and it just dawned on me," Cal Ripken Jr. said Monday evening. "Ernie was such an integral part of the organization. I said, 'the perfect name for it is Ernie Tyler Way.' He was the face of the Orioles in a lot of ways, and the Tyler family is from Harford County, so it was perfect."
The newly named thoroughfare was the site of a street sign dedication which was attended by members of Mr. Tyler's family, including his son, Fred, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the start of Monday's contest between Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and by Cal Ripken Jr.
Mr. Tyler, who lived in Forest Hill, died in February 2011 at age 86, having worked with the Orioles for 48 years without missing a game. Prior to beginning his tremendous streak as an umpire attendant, Mr. Tyler was an usher at Memorial Stadium for six years starting in 1954, the Orioles' inaugural season. His nearly five-decade stretch ended at the request of Cal Ripken Jr., who asked Mr. Tyler to be his guest in Cooperstown during Ripken's 2007 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"I think this is all about the values and principles that he represented, and that he's passed on to his family. It's less about whether you were baseball player or not a baseball player, and more about what you stand for," Ripken said in an interview later Monday evening.
"Ernie stood for showing up, hard work, being there, and those are the values that a lot of people can relate to," he continued. "To me, the memory of him sitting on his stool, next to the backstop, that image will forever be in my mind. He was attentive, in the game. And, that running style of his, when he had to move the stool or retrieve a ball, I'll remember too."