We’ve all heard about how Cal Ripken Jr. saved baseball following the 1994-95 strike with his consecutive games streak, but did you know he saved the Democrats on Sept. 6, 1995, as well?
Former Rep. Martin Frost, a Texas Democrat, writes in The Hill this week about how Cal indirectly helped raised $150,000 for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on his record-breaking night.
Here’s an excerpt from Frost’s column, “Politicians might look to sports to lift their spirits“:
For months I had been harassing Maryland Democratic Reps. Ben Cardin (now a U.S. senator) and Steny Hoyer (now House majority leader) to put on a DCCC fundraiser in Baltimore. They had multiple excuses about why it wouldn’t work, but I did not give up.
Finally, one day in the middle of the summer, they approached me on the floor of the House and said they had an idea. What about a fundraiser at Camden Yards the night Ripken broke Gehrig’s record of 2,l30 consecutive games played? The owner of the Baltimore Orioles was a big Democrat and had offered to provide a 75-seat party box in left field for our use that night.
It was an inspired idea. So, on Sept. 6, 1995, the DCCC held a fundraiser at Camden Yards. It was a spectacular evening. Ripken hit a home run to left field (near our box) in the fourth inning and then did a victory lap around the perimeter of the field (passing just under our box) at the end of the fifth inning, when it had become an official game.
We raised $150,000 for the DCCC, and people called me the next morning to thank me for having a fundraiser at the park that night.
Ben Cardin has longstanding Oriole loyalties. On April 4,1989, he introduced a Congressional Resolution honoring the Birds following the team’s Opening Day victory over the Yankees. It read, in part, as follows: “The Sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. Of course, I am talking about the birds of Baltimore. The Baltimore Orioles are back where they belong, in first place in the American League East.”
See this “Flashback Friday” post about Cardin’s 1989 Congressional Resolution.