O's fan gets up-close view of Ripken, Gwynn induction

August 02, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Six years ago, when Cal Ripken Jr. retired from baseball, Claudette Boudreaux knew she would find herself in a sea of orange celebrating the athlete's 21-year career with the Baltimore Orioles.

That day came Sunday, when she and her husband were among 75,000 people watching Ripken and fellow baseball player Tony Gwynn as they were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Boudreaux is president of the Board of Directors for Food Resources Inc. in Hagerstown, and lives in Frederick, Md., with her husband Larry Daulbaugh.

"My husband is a Cal Ripken maniac," she said. "We've been Orioles fans for a long time."

Boudreaux was able to ask a question of Gwynn during a show that will air tonight at 9 on sports network ESPN2.


"The really neat thing was not so much being on television, but just the experience," she said.

Boudreaux said she and her husband held season tickets while Ripken played, but gave them up about a year after his retirement.

The pair knew they would attend Ripken's Hall of Fame induction as soon as his retirement was announced. They booked their hotel room in Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Hall of Fame, nearly one year ago, she said.

"You're only going to see the induction of Cal Ripken once in your life," Boudreaux said.

They left Friday and spent Sunday at the ceremony sitting among about 75,000 people, wearing the Orioles colors - orange and black.

"The field was a sea of orange," she said. "It was really cool."

On Monday, Boudreaux and Daulbaugh went to a taping of an ESPN2 show that included questions and answers with the two new Hall of Famers. Four fans were chosen to ask questions of either Gwynn or Ripken.

Boudreaux said she had seen a show earlier that week, and Gwynn was referred to as "seven grains of pain."

"I was thinking, 'What is that?'" she said. "I was trying to think of a question for Cal Ripken, but thought I would ask that one for Gwynn."

Boudreaux's question was one of the four chosen.

"I got to sit in the front row and stare at Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn the whole time," she said.

And the answer to her question?

Boudreaux said she now knows that "seven grains of pain" refers to the handle of the bat.

"The bat with the least number of grains is the stronger bat, and one year (Gwynn) had one that had only seven grains and he batted .394 that year with that bat," she said. "At the end of the season, he took the bat home and put it in a display case, and the next year at spring training he was not doing well."

Boudreaux said Gwynn told her that his wife mailed him the bat to spring training, and when he hit the first ball with the bat, the bat broke.

If you watch

What: Legends Series show with questions and answers with Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn. Area resident Claudette Boudreaux will appear, asking Gwynn a question.

When: Tonight at 9 p.m. on ESPN2

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