On the day that Cal Ripken is forced by injury or some other happenstance to miss the first game of his 16-year Major League Baseball career, Fram oil filters is ready to roll an alternative spot to one now on air starring the Orioles third baseman.

In the current spot, the ‘Iron Man’ is cruising to a game in a ’59 Cadillac while confessing his worst nightmare. In it, his car sputters and breaks down. A play-by-play announcer on the car radio reports an unknown player named Bigelow takes Ripken’s place in the lineup. The spot ends with Ripken explaining that in reality he doesn’t have to worry about such problems because he uses Fram oil filters. ‘As dependable as the people who use them’ is the tagline.

In the alternate spot, the setup is the same, only this time Ripken is driving a borrowed car with a BIGELOW license plate. The car breaks down because its owner doesn’t use Fram products.

Both spots were shot during spring training in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and created by Arnold Communications of Boston.

His fans, no doubt, hope never to see the alternate spot.

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED