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  On Historic Night, Fan Has a Ball

By Lawrence Grayson
Special to The Washington Post
September 06, 1995

BALTIMORE, SEPT. 5 — Mike Stirn, a 32-year-old homebuilder from Sykesville, Md., tried to purchase a commemorative Cal Ripken baseball prior to tonight's historic game, but the supply was gone. So Stirn, a season-ticket holder who attended 80 games this year without a ball landing "within 10 feet," settled into his seat beyond the left field fence, and soon had one of the commemorative baseballs land within his two hands.

Ripken launched a sixth-inning drive into the left field stands that Stirn caught. "I finally got one," Stirn said as he was mobbed by fans and media moments after his historic catch. "I'd say it was worth the wait."

Stirn said that Orioles officials had made him an offer for the ball, and a memorabilia collector slipped him a card while he was talking. But Stirn said he would never sell the ball; he will only give it away. "If Cal wants the ball for any reason," he said, "I will give it to him."

Postgame Party

Most of the crowd of 46,804 hung around after the completion of the 8-0 victory over the Angels for festivities that included David Letterman reading a special Top 10 list and gifts from actor Tom Selleck, tennis player Pam Shriver, speed skater Bonnie Blair, NBA star David Robinson, baseball Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks and football legend Johnny Unitas. . . .

The fans cheered — and purchased — throughout the festive evening. A souvenir stand in the left field concourse sold 600 programs and more than 3,000 copies of a commemorative book during a four-hour stretch. The club's supply of both the special programs and the commemorative balls sold out. However, both are available to fans through the mail by calling 1-800-303-4010.

© Copyright 1995 Washington Post Company

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