O’s No. 2 Draft Pick, Ripken, Fans 17 in 1978 Championship

Cal Ripken Jr., Aberdeen pitcher - 1978
Cal Ripken Jr., Aberdeen pitcher – 1978

Here’s a really cool article from the days before Cal Ripken Jr. as an Oriole. This article was printed on June 8th, 1978

Largo–Just one day after being chosen in major league baseball’s free-agent draft, Aberdeen’s Cal Ripken, Jr., displayed a few reasons why the Baltimore Orioles made him their No. 2 draft selection.

Ripken fanned 17 batters and gave up only two hits while pitching the Eagles to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Class A baseball crown in a 7-to-2 win over Thomas Stone yesterday at Prince Georges Community College.

Yesterday, though, Ripken left no doubt about his major league potential, as he zipped assorted fast balls, curves and change-ups past the Lions. For the most part, facing Ripken became an exercise in futility for Thomas Stone’s batters, as every batter fanned at least once and many came back to the dugout shaking their heads in disbelief at Ripken’s pitching. Ripken wasted few pitches, throwing only 102 pitches at the Lions. The the third inning he only used 11 pitches to set down Stone, 1-2-3.

Although Ripken was nearly flawless yesterday, he still found himself trailing, 1-0, after the first inning, when Stone’s Mark Cannon reached first on an error and later scored on a Ripken wild pitch.

[Mark] Calvert was able to shut out Aberdeen for three innings, but threw 62 pitches in the first three innings. In the fourth inning Calvert lost his control and gave up four hits, walked on,e hit one batter with a pitch and, with the help of three infield errors, fell behind for good, 7-1.

“I was really able to throw the ball hard today,” RIpken said. “Plus all that wind helped me too. It was blowing in hard, so it helped my pitching, but did nothing for my hitting,” he said referring to his two 350-foot drives that were caught on the warning track by Lion outfields.

Ripken, who completed his high school career with a 14-4 overall mark and an 8-2 regular season record, says he definitely will play for the Orioles’ organization next year.

“It may be my only chance to play pro ball, so I don’t want to miss out,” he said. “I’d prefer to play shortstop in the majors, but I’ll play anywhere.”

Cal Ripken Jr. high school photo - 1978
Cal Ripken Jr. high school photo – 1978

Don’t worry young 1978 Cal. You’re going to get your wish, and then some (sprinkling in a few years at third base).

By the way, Robert Boyce was the Orioles’ first pick that year. What ever happened to him?

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