The Orioles were a brief subject of conversation in Washington, D.C. yesterday, only it was much more lighthearted than when Mr. Palmeiro took his trip to see Congress. During the Sonia Sotomayor's senate confirmation hearing, Maryland senator Ben Cardin reminded everyone of Ms. Sotomayor's role in the 1994 baseball strike:
"You're a hero to the Baltimore baseball fan. During the Major League baseball strike, you allowed the season to continue so Cal Ripken could become the Iron Man in September 1995," Cardin said. "We want to invite you to an Oriole's game."
"That's a great invitation," Sotomayor replied. "You can assure your Baltimore fans that I have been to Camden Yards. It's a beautiful stadium."
Being only 15 years old when the strike occurred in 1994, I remember being annoyed at the whole thing but not really interested in the details. I have vague memories of people complaining about greed of both the owners and the players and how bizarre it was that there was no World Series. I remember the talk of replacement players, with Peter Angelos being one of the only to speak up against using the "scabs." What I didn't know until now was that current Supreme Court appointee Sonia Sotomayor was the federal judge who stopped the owners from going forth with the use of replacement players. Thanks to her injunction against the owners, the 1995 season was played with major leaguers despite no collective bargaining agreement having been reached.
As referenced by Senator Cardin, the injunction kept Cal Ripken's consecutive games played streak alive, allowing him to break Lou Gerhig's record that year. Is that why Peter Angelos opposed replacement players in the first place? I certainly don't know. I'd imagine it factored in. It's funny that Cal's streak and the festivities that went along with it were heralded by some as the event that brought fans back to baseball after the strike, and they almost didn't happen.