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THE ISSUE NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT, WHAT TO DO ABOUT CAL?
Published March 13, 1995
As the possibility of replacement baseball approaches, debate about how Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak will and should be treated is heating up. In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark writes, "The more we think about poor Cal Ripken, the more it gives us the shakes." Although AL President Gene Budig has yet to rule on the situation, Elias Sports Bureau's Tom Hirdt says the issue is "fairly simple": "It seems to me that if they play games that count, the streak would end." Hirdt points out that forfeits count as losses, "not mere non events" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/12). Tom Carter, statistics editor of THE SPORTING NEWS, is responsible for determining criteria for records published in The Sporting News Complete Baseball Record Book. He hasn't made a final decision on how to rule on the streak. However, Carter is "leaning" towards continuing the streak if the O's refuse to field replacement players and forfeit the games. Carter says if MLB fields a team for the O's, the streak will come to an end. Carter also said he will "probably" abide by any decision made baseball officials (Buster Olney, Baltimore SUN, 3/12). Budig on the streak: "It's under very, very active review. Major league leaders past and present are being consulted on the issue" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/12). TIME's Steve Wulf said breaking the streak "would be the blackest mark in the history of baseball. Blacker than anything that the 1919 White Sox did and blacker than anything Pete Rose did" (ESPN, 3/12). THE BOOK: The 1995 AL Red Book features pictures of Ripken and Gehrig on the cover, "the two seemingly gazing at each other from across time." AL VP for Administration and Media Affairs Phyllis Merhige: "I know I took a chance; I knew it was going to be controversial. But I felt I had to acknowledge that it was going to be a big story this year. Either way, it's the story of the year. Either he breaks it or he doesn't" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/12).