cover image Only Way I Know

Only Way I Know

Cal Ripken, Jr., Ripken. Viking Books, $22.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-670-87193-3

Just as Babe Ruth is credited with restoring confidence in baseball after the 1919 ""Black Sox"" scandal, so Baltimore Oriole Ripken has been called the man who renewed fans' hopes after the disastrous strike of 1994. He accomplished this on September 6, 1995, by breaking Lou Gehrig's record of 2130 consecutive games played, a momentous occasion that drew even the president and vice-president to the ballpark. But ironically, as Ripken points out, writing with the author of Chapter and Verse, breaking the record was less significant for him than it was for the public and the media. An exceptionally low-key man, Ripken believes simply that baseball is his job and that he should do that job as well and as long as he can. He is candid here about his life in the minors and the friends he made there who never got to the top; about his father, fired by the Orioles after dedicating three decades to the organization; and about present-day players. His is an unusually good sports autobiography that captures the candor and generous spirit of a man who has had diamond greatness thrust upon him. Color photos, not seen by PW. 200,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; author tour. (May)