Locally, Ripken had super year to close stadium REMEMBERING 1991 IN SPORTS

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Baltimore Orioles staged Cal Ripken's American League Most Valuable Player news conference under the lights at the unfinished new park, saluting him with champagne glasses filled with a product he endorses, milk.

"I blew it on Channel 2," Ripken said. "I told them I was celebrating with champagne in my kitchen. This will help me restore my image. The milk people will really like this."

Barely a week later, the shortstop supreme received his first Gold Glove. He thus became the second player in history to be his league's MVP, Major League Player of the Year (Associated Press and The Sporting News), All-Star Game MVP and win a Gold Glove in the same season. Maury Wills did it in 1962.

One player who resented finishing runner-up to Ripken for the MVP award was the Detroit Tigers' Cecil Fielder. The Tigers were in contention most of the season; Ripken's Orioles were a dismal sixth. Fielder, also runner-up in 1990, thought he had the numbers -- 44 home runs, 133 RBI.

"I was told last year I didn't win because I wasn't on a winning team," Fielder said. "Now I've lost to somebody who played on a sixth-place team. I'm very upset. It's a shame. It's a joke as far as I'm concerned."

Ripken's prosperous season was the top story in the state, but by no means the only one, to wit:

January

Walt Williams, Maryland's point guard, main offensive threat and leader, was sidelined with a broken leg. The Bullets' Bernard King, who reconstructed his career after doctors reconstructed his knee, was named to play in the NBA's All-Star Game.

World breast stroke record-holder Mike Barrowman of Potomac became the first three-time winner of the Swimmer of the Year award, Mount St. Mary's Jim Phelan became the 10th man in college basketball history to coach 1,000 games and Glenn Davis became an Oriole.

Orioles groundskeeper Pat Santarone, after decades of manicuring baseball fields, left with a fishing rod for life in Montana's outdoors, and Ricky Diggs arrived from the Air Force Academy staff with a vow to revive Morgan State football.

March

Middletown High School quarterback Paul Glagola won a $4,000 scholarship as the grand winner at the Scholar-Athlete Awards Dinner.

Jim Palmer, hampered by a cranky 45-year-old hamstring

muscle, retired again after a brief comeback attempt. Palmer left with words of compassion for trainer Richie Bancells: "We just lessened his workload by 50 percent. I'm out of here."

Towson State's basketball team played in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year, and again the Tigers threw a scare into one of the nation's top teams. No. 5 Ohio State led by only five points with less than six minutes left before pulling away to a 97-86 victory.

April

Towson High freshman Anita Nall, 14, broke the American record in the 200-meter breast stroke by 2 1/2 seconds and came within an eyelash of the world mark.

For the Orioles, it was a forgettable final opener at Memorial Stadium, a 9-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox in which Jeff Ballard was beaten by former Stanford teammate Jack McDowell.

The Baltimore Thunder was beaten by the Gait twins, Gary and Paul, and the Detroit Turbos for the Major Indoor Lacrosse League title.

The Blast watched helplessly as it was eliminated from Major Soccer League playoff consideration by Wichita's victory over St. Louis. "It was a nightmare watching that game," the Blast's Billy Ronson said. "It was like watching fate."

The Washington Capitals eliminated the New York Rangers in the NHL playoffs, then were ousted by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who went on to win the Stanley Cup. The Skipjacks bowed to the Binghamton Rangers, four games to two, in the first round of the AHL playoffs.

May

Vyen Do raced home with the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning for an 8-7 triumph over Southern of Harwood that broke Annapolis High's five-year, 90-game softball losing streak.

The Bullets' Susan O'Malley, 29, became the first woman to become president of an NBA franchise. Major-league baseball's first black manager, Frank Robinson, lost his third managing job and became an Orioles assistant general manager. He was replaced by John Oates, who hit 14 major-league home runs to Robinson's 586.

In lacrosse, in the space of 13 days, 11th-seeded Towson State upended No. 6 Virginia, No. 3 Princeton and No. 7 Maryland only to lose to No. 1 North Carolina in the NCAA final. Said Towson coach Carl Runk, "Our primary goal was to gain respect. I think we've done that."

June

Randallstown running back Larry Washington, headed for Maryland, and Western's three-sport star, Tennessee-bound Dana Johnson, were acclaimed The Evening Sun 1991 High School Athletes of the Year at the 25th anniversary awards luncheon. Johnson was cited by Sports Illustrated as one of the five best schoolgirl basketball players in the country.

The Blast's Mike Reynolds, 27, died of a stroke after a soccer demonstration at the Jessup Pre-Release Center. The Blast's Rookie of the Year in 1987, Reynolds was to wed Claudia Franke, his German fiancee, in October. Trying to grasp the loss, Blast

goalie Scott Manning said, "I won't. I can't."

July

Ripken won the pre-All-Star Game home run contest with 12, then won the game for the American League, 4-2, with a three-run homer off ex-teammate Dennis Martinez.

Four Orioles pitchers -- Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson -- combined on the fifth no-hitter in club history and the first since Jim Palmer's in 1969, beating the Athletics in Oakland, 2-0.

August

Former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey punctuated a return to Baltimore with the Milwaukee Brewers by singing a 25-minute medley of songs at Christopher's in Cockeysville.

September

Pam Shriver and Natalia Zvereva were ranked 49th at the U.S. Open, but won, giving Shriver her first doubles title without Martina Navratilova.

October

The stadium without a name finally got one, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Of his talk with Orioles principal owner Eli Jacobs, Gov. William Donald Schaefer said, "I sat down with him over the weekend. I went to breakfast with him, or lunch, whatever it is. He said to me and I said to him, 'It's getting to be ridiculous. Let's get this over with.' We named it Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That's it."

Two days later, the Orioles played their final game at Memorial Stadium. The starry-eyed and tearful farewell before 50,700 was a perfect ending.

When South River High battled to a 1-1 tie, it marked the first

time since Oct. 11, 1987, that the Severna Park girls soccer team failed to win. The streak of 46 was the longest in girls high school soccer in the country. Dulaney High junior Amanda White broke her eighth cross country course record of the fall in the Baltimore County meet at Oregon Ridge Park.

November

After an 0-8 exhibition season, the Bullets suddenly blossomed behind guard Michael Adams, who had 63 points and 24 assists as the team won its first two games.

Bankrupt harness tracks Rosecroft and Delmarva Downs were sold for $18 million to Los Angeles businessman Fred Weisman. Two weeks later, the grandstand at Rosecroft burned down.

The Redskins suffered their first loss in 12 games, bowing to the Dallas Cowboys, 24-21, and ending their pursuit of the Miami Dolphins' spotless (17-0) record in 1972.

Said coach Joe Gibbs, "Reality says we want to win our division and get home field [advantage]. We want to be able to play two games at RFK. If we can somehow get that, reality tells me we did a heck of a job. . . . We didn't get the dream."

City College did finish with a perfect record in football, beating Poly, 14-8, to complete a 10-0 season with the area's No. 1 ranking. Wilde Lake extended the area's longest winning streak to 26 games with its second straight state football title, beating Smithsburg, 13-10.

December

A day after Joe Krivak resigned as Maryland coach with three years remaining on his contract, Navy averted a winless season with a victory over Army on the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

Binghamton ended the Skipjacks' winning streak at five, but the Jacks still had the most wins in the AHL's Southern Division and a six-game lead over Hershey. The same day, the Capitals beat the Calgary Flames and were tied for the NHL's Patrick Division lead after 30 games with 42 points.

Dunbar High's basketball team returned from tournaments in St. Louis and Hawaii with an 8-0 record and the No. 1 spot in the USA Today Super 25 rankings.

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