Cal Ripken

Cal Ripken Jr. holds the world record of 2,216 consecutive games played in baseball, surpassing both Lou Gehrig's and Japanese star Sachio Kinugasa's records. This level of dependability, durability and dedication to the game has also earned him the nickname "Iron Man."


On September 6, 1995, Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. played in his 2131st consecutive game, breaking the record set nearly 60 years before by Lou Gehrig. Gehrig spent all his games as a Yankee (something not that unusual then) and mostly played first base. Ripken has been the Orioles organization from the beginning (a rarity in these days of highest-bidder free agency) and played virtually all his games at shortstop, a much more demanding position. During these past 14 years, there was a five year period where Iron Man Ripken did not miss a single inning.

Ripken is a certain Hall of Famer as the best shortstop that ever played the game. He received the Rookie of the Year award in 1982. Named MVP twice (83 and 91, the former leading his team to World Series victory; the latter time becoming the first player to be MVP, All-Star game MVP and a Gold Glove in the same year), Ripken has hit more home runs than any other shortstop (toping another great, Cub Ernie Banks). Ripken has played in 13 consecutive All-Star games. Defensively, he won two Golden Gloves, and holds the major league record for fielding percentage in a single season (0.996 in 19, commiting only 3 errors that season). He also set the major league record for most assists in a season (584) in 1984.

"The Streak" began on May 30, 1982. Manager Earl Weaver started Ripken -- a high school pitcher and outfielder -- in at third base. Third base was a natural position for Ripken: he's big with a strong arm. One month later, on July 1, 1982, Weaver penciled him in at shortstop. Ripken thought it was a mistake, and started taking grounders at third as usual. Weaver growled and pointed, Ripken moved over, and he has played there ever since.

Ripken is everything that is right about baseball, about sports and about America. During "The Streak," more than 3700 baseball players went on the disabled list; Ripken never missed a day of work. Among active players, the person with the second highest number of consecutive games (Frank Thomas of the White Sox) has around 250.


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