Ogden throws out ceremonial first pitch

Ogden throws out first pitch for O's

BALTIMORE -- Offensive linemen are rarely singled out for their accomplishments. There, in the middle of a football field, it's easy to blend in with your linemates.

But Saturday night, in the middle of a different field, one of Baltimore's greatest offensive linemen stood up and took credit for his accomplishments both between and beyond the hash marks.

Jonathan Ogden, the first draft pick in Baltimore Ravens history, announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday. Saturday, plenty of Ravens faithful filled the seats at Camden Yards as Ogden threw out the ceremonial first pitch to a thunderous ovation.

"That felt really cool," Ogden said of the honor. "I've been out on plenty of fields in my day, obviously, but to get out there with a baseball in my hand, it was a little bit different."

Ogden stretched out a little on the mound before throwing a high strike to Orioles infielder Freddie Bynum, then waved to the crowd, acknowledging the ovation from the fans.

Ogden played 12 years in the NFL, all with Baltimore, and finished with a resume that included 177 games, 11 Pro Bowl selections, nine All-Pro honors and a Super Bowl championship.

Throughout his career, he was one of the premier offensive linemen in the league.

"He's probably one of the better offensive linemen in the game for the last 10 years or so," said Orioles left fielder Luke Scott. "In Madden football, you can always run to the left side and you're guaranteed to get at least five or six yards at the minimum when he's in, and you can always block left because he's a good blocker. He's a great player to have on the O-line in Madden football."

He was a great player to have on the offensive line for the Ravens as well. But it was also Ogden's contribution to the community that set him apart -- including The Jonathan Ogden Foundation, a charity benefiting inner-city schools.

"He's been a good role model in the community and been active," Scott said of Ogden's contributions. "His play on the field speaks for itself. The fans will always appreciate that, but especially when that guy goes out in the community, the fans really appreciate that."

And after playing his entire career in front of those fans, Ogden had nothing but love for the city of Baltimore and its residents.

"One day I'm going to look back at my career, and I think it speaks for itself," Ogden said. "I'm glad I had a great career here in Baltimore.

"It's the best town. I've only played in one town, but these fans, I can't imagine fans anywhere else being any better. They love their sports. They love their sports players, and I'm just glad to be one of the lucky people to say that I played in Baltimore."

Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.