March 23, 2023
Annapolis, US 66 F

Cal and Chris at St. Johns College

Before Tuesday night, the last time I saw Chris Wallace was the day after his President Trump interview He and his wife Lorraine were having lunch in Giolitti’s. The last time I saw Cal Ripken, he was picking up an extension cord (I think) from K&B True Value. But Tuesday, I (and about 200 others) got a peek into the two superstars minds at the latest installment of the Great Conversations at St John’s College.

I wasn’t sure what to expect–two men from seemingly divergent backgrounds asking each other questions for 90-minutes. I figured Chris Wallace had the upper hand. But I was surprised–being the big leaguer that he is, Cal threw some pretty hardballs as well. What I didn’t see coming was a respect-fest for fathers!

Both are famous sons of famous dads. And both live here in Annapolis. Cal’s father was Cal Ripken Sr who played in the majors for many years and famously coached the Baltimore Orioles. Chris’s father was Mike Wallace the famed journalist and 60 Minutes anchor. Both followed in their fathers’ footsteps, yet each making their own unique set of footprints.

Much of the conversations stemmed around their fathers–both men agreed that they were huge influences in their respective lives and were responsible for their work ethic.

Ripken recalls shagging balls with his dad and being told to do it repeatedly until it becomes second nature. And Ripken also worries about his son, Ryan, who is playing in the Orioles organization for the A Delmarva Shorebirds. Will he be held to a similar standard as the Iron Man?

Wallace countered that he realized that he will never be Mike Wallace–and no one else will either. However, he sees the comparisons as a mandate to carry on the legacy. Wallace said he is thrilled when he is confused with his father saying that “it means people still remember him.”

The two went back and forth about celebrities met. While Wallace spoke of speaking with Mother Teresa, Ripken casually talked about his time with the Queen of England.

Both consider themselves role models and take the task seriously.

At the end of the program, the duo fielded questions from the audience. Most were slanted toward Ripken, but one asked about how you prepare for the big game or a Presidential debate. Both agreed to jitters. Ripken sought out little out of the way breakfast joints to start his day. Wallace recounted being backstage at the final Trump-Clinton debate before the election and saying “God, if you can just get me through the next 90 minutes…..” much to the audience’s amusement.

In the end–while the careers could not be further apart, the trajectory and the innate sense of responsibility between Cal Ripken and Chris Wallace is very close.

But, when it comes to socks– Cal came out ahead!

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