While baseball fans in Baltimore and across the U.S. celebrate the 20th anniversary of the “Streak,” John Maroon can look to Sept. 6, 1995, as a critical moment for what would later become Maroon PR.
Now president of his Columbia-based PR firm Maroon PR, Maroon was Baltimore Orioles PR director when Cal Ripken, Jr., played in consecutive game #2131 to break Lou Gehrig’s record and took the famous lap around Oriole Park at Camden Yards, creating one of the most memorable moments in Baltimore sports history.
“If social media was around then I don’t think it would have been as iconic,” Maroon told Capitol Communicator. Instead, people were “in the moment,” focused on the television coverage while those at Camden Yards enjoyed the festivities without the distractions of hashtags and tweeting.
It was Maroon’s first season with the club, and he handled local, regional, national and international media surrounding the historic event – regarded by many as the feat that restored baseball as the American pasttime after the 1994 work stoppage and cancellation of the World Series. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were among those in attendance.
Maroon stayed with the Orioles for five years and, looking to get a taste of the NFL, accepted a position in 1999 as vice president of communications with the Washington Redskins and the organization’s new owner, Dan Snyder. ”It was not a match made in heaven,” Maroon recalled, and one year later, he returned to Baltimore where he was reunited with Ripken – working for his newly formed businesses: Ripken Baseball and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.
After six years with Ripken Baseball, Maroon decided in 2006 it was time to launch Maroon PR. Today the firm has a staff of 21 and a diverse client roster that includes Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Racing and Plank Industries, Famous Dave’s, Big League Chew, Wal-Mart DC and non-profits including House of Ruth, Brigance Brigade and Casey Cares.
[Photo: John Maroon, center, with Ripken and President Clinton]