Sunday September 06, 2015
Dumbest. Sign. Ever.
Today, Major League Baseball and the Baltimore Orioles are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the magical night that Cal Ripken, Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive game and thus passed Lou Gehrig's longstanding mark of 2,130 consecutive games.
It's also the 20th anniversary of the magical night a fan brought the dumbest sign ever to a Major League ballpark.
A photo of both was on the back cover of the 1998 book, “Sporting News Selects The 100 Greatest Baseball Players,” which I reviewed for The Grand Salami back in the day:
It is September 6, 1995, and Cal Ripken is jogging the perimeter of Camden Yards, high-fiving fans. Everyone is excited, cheering. Different people are holding up different placards: “2131: Iron Man” and “We Love You Cal.” And in the center of this celebration a fan brandishes a homemade sign which reads, “Lou Who?”
Lou Who? What goes through such a fan's mind? Does he imagine that in playing in his 2,131st consecutive game, Cal Ripken has just defeated Lou Gehrig in the same way that, say, Muhammad Ali defeated Sonny Liston? That with Gehrig sprawled on the canvas we have to forget him now? That, as Patton put it, Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser, and that's just what Lou Gehrig is now, a loser, because he's only second on the all-time consecutive games list?
I no longer own that book (why, right?), but I searched the vastest, searchiest reservoir of human data ever created, and came up with ... this one shot:
It's tough to read but there it is, right above the “[Heart] You Cal” sign.
“Lou Who?” Jesus.