When Orioles manager Buck Showalter heard about Tuesday's gunpoint abduction of Vi Ripken, the mother of former Oriole great Cal Ripken Jr., it brought back difficult memories.
"Obviously our thoughts and prayers go out to the Ripken family," Showalter said when he began his pre-game news conference Wednesday. "I had something similar happen with my mother years ago. Somebody broke into the house at night. So … it's tough. Crazy world."
Vi Ripken, 74, was abducted from her Aberdeen home on Tuesday morning and returned early Wednesday morning unharmed. Police are still looking for the suspect — a man in his late 30s, early 40s — and a motive.
Showalter has known the Ripken family for years — including Vi and her late husband, former Orioles manager Cal Ripken Sr. — and said, "I know the [resilient] stock, not only from [Cal Ripken] Senior, but from Vi."
In 2000, when Showalter was managing the Arizona Diamondbacks, his elderly mother was living alone in the house where he was raised in small-town Century, Fla., when someone broke in during the middle of the night.
The man told Showalter's mother not to turn on the bedroom light and he tied her up in a radio wire — she had been listening to a baseball game earlier that night — and burglarized the house, Showalter said.
"She found out later she knew the guy. She took him around, showed him where all the cash was," Showalter said. "She remembered where she had some other [money] hid, so she took him over there to make sure he got enough."
After the man left, Showalter said his mother untied herself and went to bed, not telling her family until the next day. The burglar was later identified, but was killed in a separate incident a few days later.
It was a tough time for the family, Showalter said. But he, of course, ended the tale with his understated wit, saying his mother's Dalmatian blew it while the house was being ransacked.
"That dog didn't stay around much longer," Showalter said. "Didn't do a very good job."