R. Sargent Shriver passed away today in suburban Washington. The one-time vice-presidential candidate was 95.
I didn't know Shriver personally. I met him once, in the late 1970s, at Memorial Stadium. He was an Orioles fan, having been born in Westminster, and could be seen at the ballpark from time to time.
When I heard that he'd passed, I immediately thought of a scene that occurred in the Orioles clubhouse in the late '70s, after the final home game of the season. Shriver had come into the clubhouse, and was making the rounds, shaking hands and introducing himself.
One player - who I won't name - was buttoning up his shirt as Shriver approached.
"Hi, I'm Sargent Shriver," he said, grabbing the player's right hand. "Congratulations on a fine season."
The player shook Shriver's hand, and said nothing. After Shriver moved a few feet away, the player looked at me and said, "That guy in the Army or something?"
"No," I replied, "that's his first name."
"What kind of name is that?"
"Maybe it's a family name."
End of conversation.
Shriver's legacy includes launching the Peace Corps, and leading the war on poverty under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was also a Kennedy in-law, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's father-in-law. Perhaps if he'd acquired the Terminator as a son-in-law a few years earlier, that exchange in the Orioles clubhouse might have gone differently.