Friday, August 03, 2007

Canton Call

As you may have heard, Cal Ripken Jr. was recently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. You might also be aware that we are currently at war in Iraq and Paris Hilton was recently in jail. Maybe you’ve even caught a glimpse of this Beckham character as well. In any case, the media blitz on baseball’s holy grail commenced with Baltimore’s native son being immortalized among the greats of the game with a bronze plaque hung in the hall at The Hall. A momentous day in the history of sports in the Charm City as Ripken joined Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver, and Eddie Murray as Hall of Fame O’s. And although it might be a while until an Oriole reaches such great heights again, Baltimore sports fans could soon have reason to rejoice.

Cooperstown’s kid cousin, Canton, OH, is home to the National Football League Hall of Fame, which hosts this weekends legends ball as they induct the Class of 2007. The inductees include Bruce Matthews, Thurman Thomas, and Michael Irvin, whose Cowboy’s bested TT’s Bills in back-to-back Super Bowls in the early 90s. As many faithful fans could attest, Irvin and Thomas will join a slew of footballers from Baltimore already in Canton. However, they are erroneously classified as merely Hall of Fame Colts, grouped together with the only Indianapolis player to make it in, Eric Dickerson. And although we will never forget where Berry, Donovan, Ewbank, Hendricks, Mackey, Marchetti, Parker, and Unitas played, we yearn for the day when the city of Baltimore will be recognized for its role in building the game and bringing it in to the 21st Century. Well my feathered friends, that day will come soon, and according to ESPN Page 2’s Thomas Neumann and Scott Symmes, there might be three or four trips to Ohio on the horizon.

Neumann and Symmes review the 50 active players who seem destined for enshrinement and not surprisingly, two Ravens make an appearance in his top 10 – Ray Lewis (#5) and Jonathan Ogden (#7). Both of our beloved first picks in franchise history are bound to become the first and second Ravens to become Hall of Famer’s, thanks in part to prolonged dominance at their respective positions, numerous Pro Bowl selections, and of course, the rings they won together in 2001.

In addition to Ray and JO, two other current Ravens received inclusion in the story, including the still blossoming superstar, Ed Reed (#33). In describing Reed’s resume, the most notable notation was about what still is yet to come as the article states, “Reed has the speed and versatility to possibly be considered the finest safety in NFL history one day.” Take a minute to breathe that one in. Lewis and Ogden may already be considered among the best ever at their positions, and now its time to contemplate that real possibility that a third member of the flock could become an all-time great.

Not to be overlooked, the fourth Raven identified was Steve McNair, who was listed as one of ten players still on the HOF bubble. His years as an Oiler/Titan provided some prolific pegs to make the climb to Canton, but hope is not all lost as the authors write, “McNair probably needs a Super Bowl ring to punch his ticket.” So what they’re saying is, if the Ravens win the Championship, McNair’s bonus package will include a bronze bust at the Hall. Here’s hoping Canton comes calling.

Editors “shameless alma mater pride” Note: Syracuse was one of just eight schools with multiple players included on the list of 50 – Marvin Harrison (#8) and Dwight Freeney (#16).

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