I always thought you read Ayn Rand’s novels in high school or your first year in college, then discarded them as malarkey. But in yesterday’s New York Times none other than new Hall of Fame inductee Cal Ripken Jr. expressed his admiration. “My personal philosophy is to get a feeling of fulfillment through my work,” he said. “I have a desire to create something. I guess that’s why I’ve long been fascinated by two books, ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ The leading figure in ‘The Fountainhead,’ an architect named Howard Roark, is someone I’ve thought about a good deal.”
Now I know why the Iron Man’s light blue eyes always kind of bothered me. Not even Gary Cooper (who also played Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse) could make the megalomaniacal Roark appealing.
On the other hand, Ripken’s fellow inductee, the great Tony Gwynn, is one of my favorite ballplayers. With a batting average of .348 over his 20-year career with the Padres, a lifetime on-base average of .388, and a lifetime on-base-plus-slugging-percentage of .847, he was a joy to watch, and his incongruously high, squeaky voice only added to his good eggedness. We need such alternatives to Barry Bonds–or objectivists.