BALTIMORE, JUNE 27 -- After further review, the play does not stand as called. Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken's other streak continues.
Bill Stetka, official scorer at Memorial Stadium, today changed the scoring of a first-inning play in the Orioles' 5-3 loss Tuesday night to the Cleveland Indians that would have ended Ripken's errorless streak at 67 games.
Instead, the error will go to center fielder Mike Devereaux, whose throw went off the end of Ripken's glove, rolled into foul territory and allowed a run to score.
Stetka said the change, giving Ripken 68 consecutive games -- he made it 69 in tonight's 6-3 victory over the Indians -- and 300 consecutive chances without an error, was based on television replays he studied Tuesday night and an extensive round of interviews this afternoon with players and coaches on both teams.
It allowed Ripken, who played in his 1,322nd consecutive game tonight, to continue his pursuit of several fielding records for a shortstop. Mark Belanger played a club-record 69 consecutive games without an error in 1979. Detroit's Ed Brinkman played 72 games without an error in 1972. That's the AL overall record and the major leagues' single-season record. Brinkman also handled an AL-record 331 consecutive chances without an error in 1972.
The play in question occurred with one out, Jerry Browne on first base and Dion James at the plate. James blooped a single to center. Devereaux came in and muffed the pickup for an error. In his haste to keep Browne from advancing to third, Devereaux made a throw that Ripken tried to cut off in order to prevent James from advancing to second. The ball went off the end of Ripken's glove and into foul territory on the outfield side of third base. Browne scored and James continued to second.
Originally, Stetka charged Ripken with a fielding error that allowed Browne to score and James to advance. This afternoon, Stetka took the fielding error from Ripken and gave a throwing error to Devereaux.
Ripken "had to use more than ordinary effort to stop the ball," Stetka said. "Everybody in line with the play agreed that Cal had to go out to try to stop it."
Stetka said he spoke to Ripken; Devereaux; third baseman Tim Hulett; Indians third base coach Rich Dauer; pitcher Pete Harnisch, who was backing up the play; Orioles Manager Frank Robinson, who had a good view from the third base dugout; and Indians outfielder Candy Maldonado, who had a good view from the first base dugout as well as an impartial view.
"People on the other team don't have a vested interest," said Stetka, who covered baseball for the last five of his nine years with the Baltimore News-American, which folded in May 1986. Now director of alumni services at Towson State University, he is in his fifth season as official scorer at Memorial Stadium.
The most compelling testimony came from Dauer, who set AL single-season records for consecutive errorless games and consecutive errorless chances by a second baseman in 1978 as a member of the Orioles, and Hulett.
Hulett: "The throw definitely was off line. I would have had to make a very good play to catch it" if Ripken had let it go through.
Dauer set the review in motion Tuesday night when he told Orioles public relations director Rick Vaughn after the game that Ripken did not deserve the error. Vaughn persuaded Stetka to review the replays, which Stetka said were conclusive only in showing that Ripken had to jump and reach for the throw.
Ripken, who disagreed with Stetka's original decision, said it was "comforting to know" a change had been made, but "I wouldn't have lost any sleep about it either way."
He said he was happier about the fact that he had not influenced the scorer's decision one way or the other.
"I was not involved in the first decision," Ripken said, "and I was not involved in the second decision. I don't think it's right to show any favoritism in a hitting streak, fielding streak or a no-hitter."
Devereaux said, "I was in a hurry to throw the ball and I really couldn't see what happened after I threw it."
Devereaux was less upset about the error he received than a stolen base he did not receive Tuesday night when shortstop Felix Fermin dropped a throw from catcher Sandy Alomar that Stetka ruled would have gotten Devereaux.